Thinking of Boston
We're still processing the events that occurred during the Boston Marathon, and the recovery efforts that will continue for some time. Over the past several months, we've been in touch with many runners as they prepared for the famous and challenging race. It was an exciting time and we were anxious to see the race results and congratulate everyone we knew who participated. Celebrations and festivities were supposed to follow. All of that changed in a matter of moments.
As we jump through emotions of fear, sadness and anger, we're affected by the stories we read about people who were close to the attack. There was 78-year-old runner Bill Iffrig, who fell just 15 feet short of the finish line when the bombs went off. He finished the race and refused to sit in a wheelchair as he walked the six blocks back to his hotel. Then there was Ray Charbonneau, whom I met online a few months ago when he sent me a copy of his latest running book. Ray ran as a guide for a visually impaired man. They had just crossed the finish line moments before the attack and Ray continued to guide his exhausted runner through the mayhem and running crowds for another 45 minutes before they could sit and rest. One of the most incredible stories came from Linda Ambard, who was close to finishing the race when she heard the explosions. She was running in memory of her husband, a soldier who was killed in another terrorist attack two years ago. The tragedy brought her back to a dark place that she had worked hard to move beyond, but she found her strength again and posted this statement on Facebook: "The terrorist will never EVER maim my heart, my spirit, or my drive to live life out loud. Got that?"
At times of crisis, we mourn for those who suffer while feeling anger toward those responsible and finding inspiration from those who persevere. It's a confusing time, and we'll continue to move through it and hopefully learn and grow from it. We need those inspiring stories to remind us to keep moving forward, which is something runners are very good at doing. One of my favorite responses to the attack came from minimalist runner Rob Raux. He tweeted "If you're trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target!"
The races will go on, runners will continue to do what they love (Ray Charbonneau is already planning to run the Boston Marathon again next year), and we'll continue to give our hearts and support to those who need it. We're very touched to see the solidarity of runners who have rallied together around the world for memorial runs. If you would like to participate in your own "Run for Boston," it's very simple: gather some friends, wear blue and yellow, go for a run and send a picture of yourselves to the Run for Boston Facebook page.
UPDATE June 2016: the One Fund Boston has closed and is no longer accepting donations. Thanks to everyone who gave their support!