A friend of mine ran the Boston marathon today, and a group of us were excited for her. She had trained hard, and we knew she was going to smash her PR. I had the Boston marathon text updates set so that I could follow her progress, and our forum group was posting updates from the web. She did well, and ran an excellent time, faster than I can run, for sure.
I have the Chicago marathon coming up this fall, and Boston lives in the back of my mind. I’m fairly certain I have the athletic potential to set a marathon time to qualify for it. It won’t be this year, but maybe in the near future.
Soon after my friend finished the race my mom sent me a text reading, “check cnn.com”. That can’t mean good things, and I read the scariness that was there. I saw the finish line clock reading just over four hours, and I knew there were still a lot of runners out there on the course. I haven’t run a marathon yet, and my goal for Chicago is 3:30, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I ran a 4:xx at Boston.
It could have been me.
If circumstances were different, if I had gotten into endurance sports a couple years earlier, I could have been on the course, or, maybe even easier, been there as a spectator at the finish line cheering for the runners. There’s no real difference between me and the people that were hurt or killed earlier today.
To illustrate that sameness, one of my friends texted me to check if I was running Boston, and if I was OK. A number of other friends thought of me right away when they heard about the tragedy. They identified with me as an athlete that could have been there.
This isn’t some going to send me into some type of emo depression, but the I caught a glimpse of the fragility of life today, and it is clear I am not immune to the alternative. Having a friend that was there at the race, already envisioning myself participating in the event, feeling the piercing sense of relief when she was ok (and being internet friends, we’re not especially close), it feels like I was involved in the event. It feels like my loss, my tragedy.
I’m still going to run Chicago because I don’t believe my life should be ruled by fear, and I trust the integrity of the event. But as I went for a jog this afternoon, it was very much on my mind, “It could have been me. It could have been me.”
The signs of the times preceding the end of the world and the second coming of Christ felt very personal today. I can’t wait until He comes to take us home to a safe place where there is no more pain, suffering, or death, and where we will always be able to trust the characters around us because they are a reflection of the character of Christ.
My thoughts and prayers are with those hurt in Chicago, and, as a running comrade, those who were not able to finish the race.
Tom, this is a nicely written reflection. I’m glad your friend is OK.
Very eloquently put. I too thought today – if I ever got into Boston – likely as a charity entrant – I would be not even there at the 4 hour point but it’s likely my husband and daughter would be at the finish line waiting for mummy to finish. That very thought has been with me all day. I cannot wait to go home and hug the people dear to me.
“Having a friend that was there at the race, already envisioning myself participating in the event, feeling the piercing sense of relief when she was ok (and being internet friends, we’re not especially close), it feels like I was involved in the event. It feels like my loss, my tragedy.”
I felt this exact way. It was a terrible event, made all the more terrible because someone I knew and cared about could have been hurt or killed. So sad for the victims and so happy it wasn’t worse.