My heart hurts. The Boston Marathon tragedy feels really close to home for me. This is the first year I’ve known anything about the race and I spent the early hours of Monday morning eagerly watching the live feed from Boston as the elite runners ran their hearts out. I was cheering for Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan, both Portland-based runners who I admire greatly. But I was also cheering for Yolanda Caballero from Colombia who lost her husband in January to an mis-diagnosed stroke. I was cheering for all those athletes, both elite and community runners who each had their individual reasons for pushing their bodies to the limit for 26.2 miles. I was imagining how it must feel to be that brave, because my own race is just a few days away. And I was thinking again about my own personal reasons for running a marathon, which I think must be just a variation on everyone’s reasons, so succinctly stated by Ezra Klein on the Washington Post blog:
As a nation, our hearts are all broken by this tragedy. I don’t know if it affects runners more or differently, but for the first time I do know a lot of people who ran Boston this year and a lot more who hope to go next year.
I admit to feeling fear in my heart at the idea of friends with small children cheering for me at the Eugene Marathon finish line, sick at the idea that I’d feel responsible if something happened to them.
I feel so angry that anyone would bomb endurance athletes.
I feel a little terrified at the idea of anyone running 26 miles and being stopped mere feet from the finish line and having to summon the strength to run a few more miles to safety. Isn’t a marathon hard enough? Must they prove their endurance again?
I keep asking God, “why?” I don’t expect an answer because I already know it. Evil exist in this world, plain and simple. But I do keep crying out His name, “Emmanuel” as I lace up my shoes and run. God be with us. We need you here in the middle of all this darkness. God, be with me. I’m afraid. God, be with them. This darkness threatens to overtake us all and we need you.
I don’t really know what to pray most of the time, so I run and I let the tears fall.