I am from New England. Not from Boston. I was born in Connecticut, lived there most of my childhood with the exception of 3 years in a suburb of Boston.
Growing up in New England, most everyone has a sense that the Boston is the “big city”….the place where people go to do things that they can’t otherwise do. Take in a Red Sox game or a celtics game. See some of the absolutely amazing historical sites. Boston is alive and rich in living history of the trials and tribulations of our great country.
The Boston Marathon. As American as apple pie, yet as international as the olympics. I don’t know the exact number and frankly I am to tired to look it up but I would assume and you can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there were runners from 53 different nations running in yesterday’s Boston Marathon. Why do people come from all over the world to run in this event. Several reasons but most everyone I know who comes to run in the Boston Marathon does so not just for the Marathon. They come to see where freedom started.
Yesterday, on Patriot’s Day no less we again lost a little bit more freedom. Things will change as we react to the terrorist bombings. Much like 9/11, we will again make changes. We are not the only ones affected by these attacks. Everyone is. Everyone who values freedom and life is affected. These bombings occurred in Boston however they could have occurred anywhere. Any city in America. Any city in Canada. Any city in Britain or China or wherever. And unfortunately they have.
This morning while on my run for remembrance I was talking to a guy who agreed that the events of yesterday were tragic but what he said next was relatively profound. Imagine living like this every single day. Where bombings happen on a regular basis. Where people live in the fear everyday that sending their kids off to school could be life or death. I pondered that thought for a few minutes as we kept running and I responded with, “my friend, we are now living like that here in America.”
There is no safe haven. Everyone is at risk. The school shootings in Newtown, Ct not so long ago reflect that. What do we do?
Well my opinion is that we cannot go into hibernation. We can reflect on the lives lost and the devastation that these events wreak, but we cannot lie down and not live our lives. We are America and Canada and Britain and every other place in the world that values freedom and those with freedom have the right to stand up and say F**K YOU!
I have no idea who did this yesterday in Boston and in the big picture, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it happened and many 100’s of lives have been altered in an instant.
One of the lives lost is young 8 year old Martin Richard. Martin was there at the finish line to give his dad a hug as his dad completed the race. He was there with his mom, older brother and younger sister. Sadly, Martin is no longer with us. His mother is in critical condition with apparent massive brain injuries and his younger sister is being said to have lost one of her legs. This is just one family whose lives have been changed forever and there are many many more.
I think it is human nature to be introspective in moments like this. I think back to my own family. My kids and Tanya waiting for me in bleachers at the finish line of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth last June. I think about what I saw at the finish line. Hundreds and thousands of people all there cheering, most standing and some sitting in the bleachers. Looking very much like the finish line in Boston with the bleachers and those standing. I think about how in an instant, one single event could shatter the lives of so many. Yesterday was one such day.
Races will no doubt change because of yesterday. Race entry fee’s (which area already extremely expensive) will go up to allow for race directors to provide more security. I would bet that even the act of racing will take a hit. Many organizations will simply ask if it is worth it. Is it worth the cost. Many runners and their families will ask the same thing. If it can happen in Boston at one of the most secure races in the world, it could happen anywhere. Any local 5K or any other marathon. Yes my friends, I fear that running in races is going to change. Insurance to hold events is going to sky rocket. I hope that it does not happen but it will. Most race directors will tell you that putting on a race whether live or virtual, is an all consuming task where the margins are razor thin. Adding additional security layers and the costs associated with those is going to be staggering.
I want to leave you with this. I posted this on Facebook this morning. Yes I wrote it and no it is not all that poetic but I do truly believe it to be true.
Welcome to today. Today is a new day. The sun rose in the East and brings with it light. Light that tells us that even in our darkest hours there is still there is still promise. Use the light as strength and move forward. Let’s turn our sadness into resolve. Let’s turn our weaknesses into strengths. Welcome to today. Today IS a new day, full of hope and promise. We get to decide individually how we want to live our day. I am choosing to live it with hope. Hope that I learned something yesterday and will use that learning to make myself better. Today is a new day and I will NOT waste it.
My thoughts and prayers to everyone who is struggling right now dealing with the events of yesterday. No amount of money or prayers can bring back those we lost. But we must move forward, we cannot stop. It is the only way.
All the best and Happy Running and God Bless!