“Every man’s death diminishes me.”
John Donne Meditation XVII
I am a runner.
I am part of a community.
I am part of a family.
Most of whose members I will never know by name.
But we know each other when we meet, sweating and panting, on trails and neighborhood streets. It’s a jerk of the head, the raise of a hand, a thumbs up, sometimes transitioning a grimace into a grin just so you don’t look like a big ol’ weinie.
That community, that family, is made up of the runners of course.
It also includes the spectators, the supporters, the race directors, the volunteers, the Police and EMTs who work our races, the cities who host them.
There are, of course, The Favorite Kids among us.
Those gazelles, those jack rabbits, The Elites. Our Heroes and Heroines.
There are those whose Stories bring us to tears, and those who inspire us and make it impossible to quit.
We cheer each others’ victories, commiserate each others’ injuries and missed PRs, and empathize the races we just can’t run.
But more than anything, we run together.
We train together, although our paces vary.
We race together, no matter who finishes first.
We cross Start and Finish Lines together, all of us.
And today we stopped together.
We stopped to stare in shock at computer screens and smartphones and televisions as our sport’s premiere event came under what felt like a very personal attack.
The Finish Line of The Boston Marathon was, if not obliterated, rendered moot.
Mute for several thousand runners who had yet to reach it, training notwithstanding.
It went from victory moment to crime scene in two short blasts.
Lives were lost and changed forever.
Memories were forever darkened.
Victories and PRs lost a little bit of sweetness.
And the one question I have yet to see a single runner friend ask is: Why?
Because for us this, like all things running, isn’t about the “Why”. It’s about the “Who”.
And the who in this is our family.
Our runner family.
Our spectator family.
Our first responder family.
Our volunteer family.
Our race director family.
Our host city family.