To some, running may seem like a chore, a struggle, the means to reach an end. To others, a long run is freedom. At points it may be dull; at points it may be difficult; at points I feel like my legs might fall off as I stagger along for another mile. But ultimately, to be able to lace up a pair of shoes and hit the trails, following whatever path your feet may take - that is freedom.
Which is why what happened on Monday is so tragic. Held every year on Patriots' Day, the commemoration of the start of the American Revolution, the Boston Marathon is a double celebration of liberty and independence. It is also an amazing show of athletic ability and determination. Yet the explosions that shook the finish line also stripped some of those runners (and family and friends) of a freedom - if not their lives, perhaps the use of their legs, or even just the triumph of crossing the finish line, completing a run devoid of fear.
In a little over two weeks, I'm running a marathon...my first. Up until this point, it was just something to cross off my bucket list; some test of physical fitness I wanted to pass; a challenge in mental focus and perseverance. But in the last 48 hours it has taken on new meaning. In a great show of solidarity, runners around the country are demonstrating a bond that unites us, and dedicating their runs to Boston. While it saddens me to think of the runners whose lives have been forever changed by this event, I also think that the response has been an inspirational show of support and a testament to the care and consideration we have for one another. When I think about generally why I run races, it's not really for the competitive thrill or achieving a personal best (though those are both nice), but rather for the collective positive energy that emanates from hundreds or thousands of people being in one place, for one purpose.
So while some speak out for those who have no voice. And others may keep watch for those who have no sight. I am going to continue to run for those whose own runs were cut short. Run for Boston.