April 15, 2013
By Matt Palmer
I ran tonight in memory of all those in Boston, and for all those affected by the bombings at the marathon. I ran on the treadmill, watching the news, crying at points as the horrific images filled the screen. Can we ever make sense of events like these, whether politically driven or not? Having run the Boston Marathon, this news hit me hard.
As I ran tonight, beside me on the wall my framed souvenir poster from Boston, and my Boston medal framed with a picture of me running, I thought back to moments in my race. Standing at the start line in Hopkinton, nearly crying, the screams and cheers of the half a million plus spectators all along the course, scream tunnel at Wellesley College, seeing my family at Heartbreak Hill, and finally the left turn on to Boylston Street where the finish line loomed ahead, and the noise of the crowd was so loud, my aching body went into sensory overload. My most prominent memory of the Boston marathon is about the camaraderie of the people, the other runners, the spectators, the celebratory spirit. So many people in Boston, accomplishing a life long dream. With all that has happened, I need to remind myself of the good things about the Boston Marathon.
The marathon is a celebration of the human spirit. Human resiliency gets pushed to the limit, and when you hit the wall, it is sheer will and determination that pulls you forward. It is an event that forces you to push past the fears and doubts in your mind, to ignore the desire to stop, give up, to end the pain. The marathon is an individual accomplishment that demonstrates in the most concrete fashion that anything is possible.
The horror of the bombings cannot be put into words. The images express it all. To know that people lost their lives, their limbs, their loved ones, and that their confidence and belief in the good of humanity has been deeply damaged, fills me with intense sadness. But, we can all take a moment to reflect on how we will respond.
Anger. Fear. Confusion. Sadness. These are valid and natural emotions. Taking time to sit with these feelings, to sit with the darkness is hard, but it is perhaps the first step forward.
We need to heal. We need to help those who were directly in harms way heal. We need to celebrate those who ran towards the explosions to help. As terrible as this event is, and as we grieve for those who died, we should move forward with strength, with confidence, with love in our hearts, especially for those who may not be feeling loved, who are vulnerable. A quick scan of the news on any day shows how deeply wounded so many in society are, how disconnected we have become from ourselves, and others. Tomorrow is an opportunity to change this. In small ways. Reach out to those you love. Send a message to people in Boston. Have coffee with a friend and talk about how this event changed you.
Marathoning is not about running away, but running to your inner self. It helped me connect with my inner spirit, and discover strength.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon, and thankful I was not there today. But this event does not weaken my desire to go run again in Boston, and celebrate in a wonderful city with amazing people.
Love and light to all in Boston. Here is a link to my post about running the marathon. https://intentionalfilm.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/running-the-boston-marathon-reflections/