I love the marathon.
I’ve been a Bostonian for the last six-and-a-half years, and nothing (except for fall, maybe) makes me feel like a Bostonian quite like the Boston Marathon. Even if you’re not a runner or an athlete, it’s hard not to get swept up in the joy and enthusiasm of the day. Unlike other sporting events, at the marathon you can cheer for everyone–from the fastest elite runners to the first-time marathoners to the charity teams to the military groups walking in full gear. Last year, I wrote a little about why I love the marathon so much and why it makes me feel so connected to the community.
Usually I’d be out on Beacon Street, cheering for runners in the Brookline area (just around mile 23/24). This year, I was on my way back from visiting family when I heard about the attack. It felt so personal–I used to live directly behind where the second blast occurred and walked around Boylston Street all the time. How could someone attack the marathon, an event that brings so many people together?
Fortunately, in the midst of this tragedy there are so many reports of people helping other people. Of first responders and volunteers rushing in to help the victims. Of runners having finished the race and, after that kind of feat, going to give blood. Of strangers offering up their homes to people without a place to stay. And this is why I love the marathon–because the people who run and volunteer and cheer are all in it for each other. It’s not about winning or supporting just one person. You’re out there with everyone and for everyone. It’s a relief to remember that in the face of this tragedy.
I’m glad to report that, so far, all I know are safe and sound, but my heart is with people who continue to feel the damages of yesterday. And rereading “The Thing Is” by Ellen Bass, a poem that feels so appropriate during times like these.
Hoping all you readers are doing okay.