What do you say on a day like today…
I started out watching incredible athletes from all over the world competing in a pure sport. I admired their physical abilities, their amazing form and speed, and their mental strength to push through the pain I know they are feeling. It was beautiful. And then, someone, some misguided cretin, for a reason I don’t understand, brought violence into this sacred place.
But, I don’t want to talk about the people who did this, they don’t deserve the thought or attention.
Some people think of endurance sports as a selfish activity — you take time away from others and spend it running, biking and swimming. But, they haven’t experienced how this time removes barriers between people.
When you race with people, you train with people, sweat, struggle, reach your limits with them…you forget about all the things that might separate you. Religion. Politics. These are labels that don’t apply when you are two people just striving for the same goal. You are human beings, flesh and blood, sharing the same experience.
People that I’ve come to know through endurance sports, I feel about them the same way I feel about family. If I later find out that we really are different… then it’s like the aunt who sends you crazy political email. Yes you disagree. But, you also know the real person.
The one who almost gave up, but didn’t.
The one who used running to come to terms with the loss of their mother.
The one who has fought injury for years without giving up.
The one who learned for the first time in their lives that they can be strong.
You can’t put people in a box with a label on it after that.
Which is why what happened today is both a horrible tragedy, and will ultimately be fruitless for those who committed this atrocity. This won’t divide people. Not these people. There were 27,000 runners out there, all with their own story, and all with a shared passion and experience.
You can’t break these bonds with a bomb.
Today, I’m with them in spirit.
Next year, in person. Boston 2014.