That (title), an edited quote from Amby Burfoot’s brief article on the Runner’s World website today. There are many great pieces being published on the internet every hour, and I still find myself devouring every one. This one holds tremendous weight because as Amby (who won the Boston Marathon in 1968, and is editor-at-large for Runner’s World Magazine) points out, that this was not an attack on runners, it was an attack on people congregating in celebration on the public sidewalks of a major city.
We runners tend to wax poetic about training, racing, and the running community. It’s usually a practice that is embraced only by our training partners and our closest and most loyal supporters, those who (with an occasional sigh or roll of the eyes) put up with our bizarre habits, constant self-criticism, and tireless sense of betterment.
If runners are a sub-culture, then Boston Marathon runners and spectators, are a fiercely close and loyal family. One of my training buddies, and closest friends, was at work in Chicago when everything went to chaos on Monday, she was there with us last year, and she felt the floor drop away until she knew we were all safe. She described her feelings on Tuesday as I think a lot of us feel, like someone broke into our homes when we were sleeping, and took everything.
The following quote was part of a status update on The Science of Sport’s Facebook page on Tuesday:
“I believe the price of admission into running self-selects people who can hear an explosion at the end of a gruelling test of endurance, turn and keep on running straight into the debris with no regard for safety or trembling legs. Images like this will be the outcome of this barbaric act, and it will unite runners in their common qualities of courage and perseverance”
-from a FaceBook follower, Quill McWilliams
I’m already grateful we took a very last-minute group picture as we were leaving the athletes village on Monday morning.
The weather on Monday was beautiful, and a lot of people posted new PR’s. We didn’t feel exactly right doing it, but we sheepishly took a few photos when we were able leave our meet-up spot on Monday evening. We had to be strategic to not have Metro SWAT officers (agents?) in the photos.
I’m sharing these pictures because like everything else, they come with so many conflicting emotions. It’s impossible to know what is appropriate, what is selfish, what is helpful, what is normal, what is an overreaction…
You try to focus on work or other things you’d normally do three days after a marathon and you feel guilty for not keeping vigilant watch over your friends, family, and the news. Then, you turn to tracking all the news and social media, and you feel guilty for not doing work, or whatever else needs to be seen to. You get compulsively anger when people crack a simple joke, and you’re angry at yourself when you laugh.
At this point things are moving very fast, and yet very slow. For those wanting to help it is my thought that the best thing you can do is contribute to The One Fund Boston. Information here. Don’t buy items on eBay that say they’ll contribute, and don’t donate to any other grassroots efforts, not because they’re a definite scam, but because they might be, and because the charity business can be tricky and even with the purest of intentions, sometimes money doesn’t go where it’s intended.
On the other side of this, there are going to be a lot of people who need medical and mental health services, not to mention things that are long-term such as prosthetics and other technologies. Knowing the running community as intimately as I do, and having taken so much from it in just the past two years, I have every confidence that those directly harmed in Monday’s inexorable and despicable act will want for nothing, because they have millions of runners behind them, and there is not a more driven population anywhere.
Every year (for the past 25 yrs) the BAA offers somewhere around 2,500 entries to charity runners. The Boston Marathon event raises more than 16 million US dollars for a variety of charities. Something I haven’t heard echoed in the media yet, is that many of the runners who were halted from finishing, were there as charity entrants, and each had raised a minimum of $4,000. It was these runners for whom the crowds on Boylston street were cheering.
Just chew on that for a minute.
There really isn’t much beyond the symbolic gestures of support that we can do right now, but we can contribute funds so that the victims of Monday’s tragedy, our biggest fans, our family, want for nothing, and feel as loved and cared for as I did on Monday afternoon, both as congratulatory messages poured in first, and then as panicked inquiries came soon after.
Adidas is producing shirts , they are the official partner of the BAA and proceeds of the shirts will go to The One Fund Boston. Click on the image to purchase a shirt from Adidas. (it appears they are selling out, I’d bet they do another production round)
New Balance has announced they’ll donate from sales of this year’s Boston limited edition shoe.
Running stores all over the country are holding “Runners for Boston” events on Monday evening, the 22nd, and they will all be either taking cash donations, selling shirts and donating the proceeds, or both.
I’ll be at the Fleet Feet Old Town event in Chicago. Click here for information.
Also here is more information on ways to show your support for Boston.
Or, of course, you can go to www.onefundboston.org and make a cash donation.