“…however, you can’t help but love running when you watch the Boston Marathon. It is so inspiring to see everyone come out for the race, especially in 90 degree heat! It also reminded me of a moment while I was in DC. After I finished my half, I was waiting at the finish line for Paul to finish the full. I stood there and watched so many people finish, and to see their faces when it happened was AMAZING! Have you ever stood at the finish line of a marathon? I don’t think anything is more inspiring. I literally had tears in my eyes watching this at one point.”
I wrote the above one year ago. The morning of the Boston Marathon in 2012. Since then I have gone on to say multiple other times just how special the finish line of a race is. I don’t have anything specific to say that people haven’t already, but I needed to write something. This day is too important to me and I have too many thoughts not to write.
The Boston Marathon is an amazing event. I have always loved it and one of the things I disliked about moving away from Boston was not having the day off to visit the race. During the race last year I made Paul promise that we would attend this years race. He agreed and up until last Wednesday, we were going to be at the race. Things happened and we were unable to attend.
Marathon Monday!!! Good luck @bostonmarathon runners! Wish I could be there to cheer!!
— Amy LeBlanc (@amynicole10) April 15, 2013
I went to work and cheered my ass off while I listened/watched the elite race from my computer. I left the live stream on after the elites finished as the camera’s stayed on a live stream of heartbreak hill. I listened to people cheering others on while I worked all day long. At some point in the afternoon I had to run to a quick meeting and shut the live stream off for maybe 20 minutes. When I got back to my desk I got a text from Paul. “There was an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon”. My initial reaction was just shock and my first (hopeful) assumption was clearly a technical accident, not something that was planned. Within seconds I saw more details and realized that wasn’t the case. This was planned. This was horrible.
I am lucky. Again. I am thankful. Again. Myself, my family, and my friends are ok. After a day like Monday, that is all I can ask for. So many others families and friends are not ok. Other than lucky and thankful, I am also sad, angry, and proud. I am so sad for everyone who was at the race, who witnessed everything first hand, who were hurt, and those whose lives were lost. I am so angry that this happened to the runners, people of Boston, and the people that went to SUPPORT AND CHEER at the marathon. It’s something that I still don’t understand. As someone who has done races, it is a heartbreaking scene to watch. I have been on both sides, as a runner and as a spectator. As I said above, the finish line of a race is the most AMAZING place to be. For someone to change that moment and ruin it, angry is just an understatement.
Finally, I am incredibly proud. I have always loved to tell people I am from Boston, but right now, I cannot explain just how proud I am to say it as well. How the people of Boston reacted in the moments immediately following, it is truly remarkable. Everyone stepped up and jumped into action to help one another, it is a place I am so proud to say I am from. Bostonians are people I am so proud to associate myself with. I am also proud to call myself a runner. People can go back and forth on what actually makes someone a “runner” for as long as they want, but this running community extends to people who go out for a quick mile run to those who go to races. Runners are fantastic people who came together yesterday in a time of sheer panic and confusion to help one another.
I don’t have much to say to make this better, and I’m not sure anything anyone said to me would make me feel better. I know for myself, talking about it helps. Talking to people who understand what this day meant to runners and to those in Boston, who know just how important this day is, that helps too. Some people say things far better than I do, this is just one of those examples. Do a little looking around and you will find hundreds of people sharing their stories and accounts of the day.
I only have one final piece of advice and a promise. My advice is the same I had after the last tragic event I wrote about, be thankful for what you have. Everything can change in a second.
My promise, I will be at the Boston Marathon in 2014. I will be there as a proud Bostonian and a proud runner.