Running For Boston

I’m putting off my Iraq posts yet again to talk about running.

Because after what happened in Boston last week, the running community that I’ve loved has become even closer. I’ve ran with three different groups in the last week, all who were running “for Boston” and I had to share about last night’s run because it’s such a perfect example of why I love runners.

A marathoner here in D.C. decided to put together a Memorial Run for 4.09 miles, the time on the race clock in Boston when the first bomb went off. This event went viral and spread through both social and traditional media until over 300 people had RSVP’d on the event Facebook page.

I didn’t see the event until the day of and couldn’t find anyone to join me, so I went alone. Which you can do with runner groups because runners are typically happy to see other runners, no matter how slow I am you are, and you make friends by jogging together and chatting. Kinda like how I made friends with Roscoe during my marathon here.

The run was actually really well organized. They had a staging area with signs for different pace groups, veterans groups, etc. We had a group moment of silence for the attacks. They gave everyone a piece of paper with the route on it and had some “race” bibs as well.

They got the Renaissance Hotel to donate 10% of food and drink purchases to The One Fund and they had a boombox full of Boston hits like Sweet Caroline and Boston You’re My Home.

People all started talking to each other before the race and in the end, the organizer (a Bostonian and marathoner) and another man who just ran Boston in 3 hours 30 minutes joined our little 11:00 min pace group. I suppose they were trying to take it really easy. But having them with us gained us some extra t.v. exposure (a lot of journalist/bloggers covered the event) and one video was turned on us right as someone was announcing our pace. Awesome. We may now be famous for being turtle-slow.

We weren't the absolutely slowest though. There was a 12 min pace and a Walkers group as well. And we ended up catching up to the pace group ahead of ours at a stoplight later, to which someone in our group yelled “we’re comin’ for ya, 10:30!” Ah, healthy competition….

Tourists snapped photos of us along our route and other runners started cheering. One of the pace groups stopped by the Massachusetts column at the WWII memorial to take a photo. I met a nice lady named Adrienne who matched my pace and we kept each other going the whole time. As we sprinted towards the finish line, we’d pass runners who’d already finished yelling “Go Boston!” and the group at the finish were all gathered in a circle chanting and singing Sweet Caroline. They started clapping for us as we came towards them and then shortly after us, the 12 min pace group all came in in a huddle and everyone at the finish exploded into cheers for them as well.

That’s runners for you. Encouraging each other, whether you’re an 8 minute pace or a 12. Whether you’re a marathoner or a 5Ker. Whether we know each other or not.

I took photos and exchanged sweaty hugs with Adrienne, even though that may be the only time I ever see her. For that evening, we encouraged each other, and that was enough. That’s why I love running. Because it’s bigger than running. When you encourage someone at the finish line, you are encouraging them at life in general. When you push through more miles than ever before, you reach a deeper conviction about your own capableness. I remember when I was going through a horrible heartbreak a while ago, my friend Tiffani said, “You’re going to get through this…you ran a MARATHON for pete’s sake!” :) And it helped. And while there’s nothing I can do to take away what happened last week, I can show solidarity with the people at that event. And it helps.

This video was taken right before I ran in. At the end, you can hear one of the guys say "we got about 50 more people out there, let's bring 'em in!" So good, so good, so good. :)


most of the photos here came from posts on the Facebook page

Moment of Silence

Me and my new friend made it into On Tap online magazine