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A Runner’s Diary: Reflecting on What Happened During the Boston Marathon

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Once you start running, you know you are part of a community. We all share a special bond. For example, I have a “13.1” sticker on my car. A former client came to see me and noticed the sticker. He asked me about it and smiled.

“Why do you ask? Are you a runner?” I asked him.

“Actually, I just ran a 50K,” he told me.

When runners pass each other on our route, we always say “Hi,” no matter how hard we are running. You rarely see that in other sports.

When I woke up yesterday, I put on my compression socks, my Under Armour running pants, my Asics Gels, my Nike shirt, my running belt, and I was ready to get going. After a little stretch, I was all set. I put on my Nike Sports Watch, walked outside and was off.

As I ran around my neighborhood, I thought about all the runners gearing up for the Boston Marathon – the excitement they felt, the energy from the other runners as they got ready. Just thinking about these runners motivated me.

When I got to work, I felt amazing. I had run two easy miles and was ready to face the day. As the afternoon got underway, I read a couple of posts on Facebook and Twitter saying that there had been an attack at the Boston Marathon. I was in disbelief so I searched for the story on the Internet and was in total shock.

How could anyone hurt the athletes?

The attack took place at the finish line when two bombs went off minutes apart, killing at least three people, one an eight-year-old boy, and injuring over 200.

I started to cry. I started to think about the World Trade Center and all the other horrific incidents that happened within the past few years. People were just going to work. People were just going to run a race. They weren’t prepared to die. They weren’t prepared for anything other than what they were meant to do that day.

Why did this happen? Why did this happen to runners?

Then I read a post from one of my Facebook friends that struck me:

“Dear terrorists,
Thanks for ruining my day. You see, today was my birthday. It was a lot of people’s birthday actually. But you know what? Now 3 people including an 8 year old boy will not have any birthdays anymore. A lot if people must now celebrate their life in a tragic manner.

Now, terrorist, most who know me know I have a great deal of affection for children and no patience for bullies. You are a coward and a bully of the highest order. You bring pain. You bring chaos. You try to scare us. But you won’t. You see, we survive. We come together. You make us stronger.

So terrorist, I will have a happy birthday despite what you have done today. The world will go on. We will overcome. And you will have the satisfaction of watching us rise as the Grinch did when he heard the Who’s singing that fateful morning.
And So it Goes… Ty Sullivan”

I was moved. I had wished Ty a happy birthday earlier in the day. Birthdays were ruined, and yet Ty had a good point. Races were ruined and yet…

I thought about my upcoming race in less than 10 days, the Diva Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, and I thought about crossing the finish line.

Will I or any other runner be able to cross the finish line with the same enthusiasm as before this happened? Can we take Ty’s advice? Or will the thought of an explosion be in our minds as we cross the finish line?

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About Hilary Topper

  • Marti Renoud-DiPaola

    Well said Hilary.

  • Hilary topper

    Thank you Marti!