Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston Memorial Run

As we all know, less than one week ago bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I have gone through such a range of emotions over the last week. As a human, I felt sadness that anyone would willingly cause harm to others. As a runner, I felt violated; as if someone had personally attacked my family. I have said many times before how thankful I am to have found the running community. For the first time in a long time I feel as if I belong to something larger than life. These feelings were only strengthened today.

One of our local race directors was there in Boston on the day of the bombing. Upon returning safely back to Raleigh, he immediately went into action planning a memorial run. He recruited other local race directors, running shoe stores and running groups. A facebook group was created and I watched as first a few hundred people agreed to run, then a few hundred more, and today over 2000 people congregated downtown to show their support for the victims of this tragedy.

Lined up to start.
In fact, so many people showed up that the City of Raleigh closed the local streets for us for an hour, and had police officers stationed at intersections to keep traffic at bay. The Raleigh Fire Department had a ladder truck display an enormous American flag as a symbolic start & finish line. Prior to the run there was a moment of silence followed by a haunting bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace and a beautifully sung Star Spangled Banner. Following the run a group of us sang along to Sweet Caroline.

My friends and I marveled at what an outstanding experience this was to be a part of. To see our running friends and our non-running friends all taking part in this thing of beauty; all sharing the same road for the same purpose. Before the run, I was standing on a corner taking a picture of the American flag when I was approached by a woman named Kim. She was in Boston on Monday, running the marathon. She said her phone's memory was full but she wanted a picture of the flag and asked if I would text it to her. I was so happy to share that picture and that moment with her. This is the type of camaraderie that has been born of this tragedy.

The picture I was taking when I met Kim.
When I heard that the city would be providing us police officers to stand watch along the run route, I knew I wanted to do something to thank them for being there. I ran with a small backpack that held notes of thanks and tokens of appreciation. I handed them out to as many of the police officers as I could along the 3-mile route and thanked them for their service to our city. They were all a little taken aback but very much appreciative.

After we finished, my running buddy Rose suggested we go cheer on the others that were finishing. That is always my favorite part of a race, seeing the looks on people's faces as they cross that finish line. As I stood there cheering, I thought about the spectators who had been doing just that on Monday and how their lives were now changed forever. I thought about the runners who were just about to cross that finish line in Boston when explosions knocked them off their feet. I cheered a little bit louder, for all of them. When my friend Jeanne found us standing at the finish, she jokingly asked if were were standing there because of the cute firemen nearby. My reply was "No. I'm standing here because every fucking runner deserves to be cheered for as they finish a race." No one can take that away from us; I won't let them.


5 comments:

  1. Heya Bang!

    As a proud NCSU grad, I'm really happy to see the city where I spent 5 years (hey, two degrees, give me some slack) showing solidarity with Boston, and also encouraging/assisting runners to do the same. We have such a great community.

    Thanks for the pictures!

    P.S. HOW do you work your watermark into all of them so subtly? I was like, "How the eff did Bang get her blog name on that building??"

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  2. There is no one else I would have wanted to run beside for this event. Love you my little run bud!

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  3. Hey Tai! It was an awesome experience. There were a lot of non-runners who did the 3-miles and I couldn't help but think how awesome it would be if they started running because of that event.

    LOL as for the watermarks, I just use the text tool in my photo editing software (nothing fancy, some free software) and placed it strategically :) Thanks for visiting/reading!!

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  4. Rose, you made my whole day with that comment :) I couldn't ask for a better running buddy. Run love!!!

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  5. great post friend! I'm sad I missed it. I'm proud of our community here in Raleigh... we are pretty awesome. I do love your strategically placed watermarks...genius!

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