Monday, April 15, 2013

Mourning Boston

It's been less that two hours since the first explosion ripped through the crowds on Boylston Street. Only a few hours earlier, I was euphoric, having watched Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher fight for a hard won 4th and 6th place finishes. Now I sit here, wracked with overwhelming and alternating feelings of sadness and rage. I take a little comfort each time one of my friends in the Boston area checks in online and lets us know they're "OK." I choke back tears as the casualty reports trickle in.

As a normal person... a generally empathetic and compassionate person, I am deeply saddened that someone would do this, at a sporting event, a marathon of all things - an event where people of different nations, beliefs, and creeds come together to peacefully celebrate human achievement, strength, and perseverance... To celebrate that which unifies us. I am cut to the core when I think about all the people for whom this should be an unforgettable day of personal triumph, who will now have to live with the horrible memories of mayhem and destruction. As a member of the human race, I weep for Boston.

Over the last hour, I have also discovered and come to understand some deeper feelings that have welled up from within - that there is an element of this that is deeply personal for me. It's not just because, at another time, in another place, that could have been me (or my wife) crossing the finish line or cheering on spectators when the bombs went off. There's that. But as a runner, a bigger part comes from a feeling like this was an attack on my family, my clan, my tribe. I came to the sport of running by way of Born to Run, so I can't help but think of all runners as part of a global tribe of people who are equal parts passionate and crazy. A tribe bonded by shared experiences of pain and perseverance. Their struggles are our struggles. Their pain, our pain. Their joy, ours - because we've all been there, one way or another.

So whoever was responsible for this reprehensible act, know this:
You haven't just hurt and terrorized a city.
You've hurt MY people.
You've committed an act of terror against MY family.

This is personal.

I will not shrink in the face of your depravity.

And I know I'm not alone.