I have gotten really tired of writing posts about sports related tragedies. Today is no exception. Yesterday started out as a normal day. Monday. Kinda gloomy. Warm. However, this Monday would not be like the previous Monday. The sports world started the day celebrating the accomplishments and legacy of Jackie Robinson and ended the day with questions and tears as the holy grail of marathons, The Boston Marathon, was rocked to its core.
Shortly after 2:45, two explosions took place. One near the finish line and the other about 50 feet away. As chaos ensued, emergency personnel rushed to the sites of the explosions to put their training to use. On a day that was suppose to mean to much to so many, it has now been marred by an hellacious act.
As a fellow marathoner, the tears immediately begin to flow upon hearing the news. I know what it is like to be within a few feet of the finish line. I know what it is like to see your final destination ahead of you. I know what it is like to know that all your hard work is about to pay off. I know what that finish line means. That finish line to many is a representation of all the obstacles, trials and devastation, that many had to overcome not only to make it to the finish line but to make it through life. Every marathoner has a story. Whether it was the death of a loved one, failing in school, being told you would never amount to anything, debt, abuse, depression, etc, the finish line sends a statement to the runner as well as the world, that this particular finisher is equipped with whatever he or she needs to overcome anything that comes his/her way.
The running community is a family, especially those in the 26.2 club. We know what it takes to finish those races. We know the hard work that has to be put in. We know the sacrifices that are made to ensure that we cross that finish line. Not only do we know but our family and friends know as well. Today’s act not only effects runners in attendance but their supporters as well. A marathon is about more than just the participants. Most of us would never cross the finish line without the support of our family, friends and complete strangers who come to marathons just to cheer for the runners. Trust me when I say that spectators, staff, emergency personnel, law enforcement and volunteers are just as important to a marathon as the runners themselves.
The sadness I feel is not likely to go away easily but it makes me even more determined to go out and accomplish yet another goal I have zoned in on. For those of you who have never crossed that finish line, it may be hard for you to understand. Or maybe not. Think about that one goal you have your mind set on. Think about how hard you have worked to reach that goal. Think about how you have put the plan in motion and you are almost there. 10 steps away from the finish line and then just like that, the line is gone.
The finish line at a marathon should serve as a source of triumph not of tragedy. It should be a place where runners are celebrated for their accomplishment not consoled because their dream was shattered. It should be a place full of exuberance, laughter and tears of joy not sadness, disorientation and tears of distraught.
Yesterday the finish line may have been compromised but it is not to be denied. The Boston Marathon will rise from the ashes again and the determination, dedication and resilience of the runners, supporters, volunteers, emergency personnel, law enforcement and spectators will be evident once again. This is now the stumbling block that many of the runners and those in attendance will now have to overcome. The thing that stands between them and the finish line. The situation that will motivate them to dig deep. Keep pressing. Keep pushing. Keep going. The finish line is waiting for you.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, those in attendance and all those who have been affected by this tragedy. UNITED WE STAND.