As the news came in, I was in shock.
I watched a web feed of the race in the morning, pulling for all of my favorite runners, and staring in amazement at the mile splits the athletes pulled off, mile after mile. I watched my facebook feed fill up with words of praise for the winners, and encouragement for friends who were still running the course.
This can't be happening.
I talked with coworkers about the give and take as a handfull of elite runners moved in and out of the lead. I shook my head thinking of the training plans. Two-a-day runs. 100 mile weeks. 8-mile speed work sessions at a pace I can't even hold for 1 mile.
Who would do such a thing?
I considered the thousands of runners who trained for years just to qualify for this race. People like me, who might not possess any unusual amount of athletic ability, yet trained and trained to make it under their 3:30, 3:20, or 3:10 qualifying time. The people who finally reached their goal of running the Boston Marathon.
How many were injured?
As I watched the 117th running of the most prestigious marathon in the country, I thought of its history. The race was run before the marathon became a 26.2 mile race. The race was run for 75 years before women started to compete in these events, now taking up over 40% of the field.
How many were killed?
I remembered the fable of Heartbreak Hill. It was 1936 when defending champion, Johnny Kelley, passed Ellison Brown for the lead on the last of the 4 Newton Hills, just past mile 20. When passing, Johnny gave his competitor a consoling pat on the shoulder, planning for a repeat victory. But Brown wasn't fading, he was just holding back. Brown came back for the win, breaking Johnny's heart.
Is it over yet?
On days like today, I'm always torn between heartbreak, fear, and the desire to make it all go away. Today, I choose to do something about it.
I'm calling all runners to join with me in support of the victims at the Boston Marathon. Starting at 9PM tonight (EDT), just 12 hours after the final starting gun of the marathon, I'm asking runners around the world to join me in a 24 hour run. You don't have to run on your own, because we're doing this together. I'm asking each runner to take as little as 15 minutes to run in support of today's victims, and for the next 24 hours, the roads, trails, and treadmills will not be empty.
For the next 24 hours, we will pay homage to their sport. We will send up silent prayers for the injured and deceased. We will join with the victims, our fellow athletes, to show the world that runners remain strongly together in the midst of tragedy.
To join the run, click here. For those unable to run, or those who just want to do more, I'm looking for a charity that will directly benefit the victims of today's tragedy. Contact me if you find a charity that we can work with. Until then, please direct people to this blog or my facebook page for updates.
Always moving foward,