As a mid-pack marathoner, the Boston Marathon has always been a faraway dream for me, well beyond my reach, an idyllic goal that only exists in my my wildest imagination. Nonetheless, it is always sitting there in the back of my mind, pushing me to run faster and farther, quietly whispering "someday." Boston represents the highest level of my sport, and the ultimate symbol of dedication, hard work, and excellence.
On Monday around noon, I watched in awe as Rita Jeptoo sprinted the last stretch down Boylston Street and broke the finish line tape with a huge smile on her face. A couple of hours later, I watched in horror as videos and images of the bombings started surfacing online.
The fact that someone so inhumanely violated a 117-year-old institution for some unknown reason is horrendous, but the violation of our basic human right to gather in a public place is drastically worse. The second I saw the first video my immediate thought was not of the runners, but of the spectators at ground zero of the explosions. They are the true heroes of the marathon. These are the family members and friends who sacrificed their time to stand out in the cold for hours, just to see a runner for five seconds. These are the people who watch the kids, make dinners, and give up weekends to travel to races and cheer on the sidelines. These are the innocent victims who gave their lives or limbs unnecessarily, while selflessly supporting a marathoner.
I am sickened at the events that occurred on Monday, and cannot stop thinking about the victims, their families, and the runners who worked so hard to get to the world's most respected marathon. Those directly affected by the bombings are suffering more than anyone on the news can portray. As with any tragedy affecting innocent victims, all we can do is donate whatever time or resources we have available, and hope that those impacted eventually find peace.
Boston has always been a lofty dream for me, and I may never qualify, no matter how much time and effort I put into training. But I know one thing's for sure, now I want to race there more than ever.