Here’s the unimportant part of the story: Before Monday, I had no plans to run any marathon. After running a 10-miler and a half-marathon with my husband, I knew that I liked running but didn’t love it. When he decided to sign up for Chicago, I looked for a reason to join him. I didn’t find it. Marathons demand incredible commitment and, when I searched within, I simply didn’t encounter the motivation to train my body that hard and push my mental stamina that far. I didn’t see a need to be that “tough.”
Now, the part that matters: Monday happened. I got a text about the bombings at Boston and went looking for more information. The first thing I saw was the now infamous photo of Jeff Bauman, and it changed everything. I couldn’t believe that he and other cheering race fans had been maimed, even murdered, in the act of supporting their loved ones. The fact that people encouraging runners across the finish line had their legs torn from them… it was the sickest kind of oxymoron, to break people’s bodies at an event dedicated to celebrating athletes at their physical peak.
And so, on Tuesday afternoon, I registered for the Chicago Marathon. In my 28 years, I have rarely received moments of perfect clarity. This was one. After the news sank in, all I wanted to do was run a marathon. In the horror that Boston faced, I finally found my reason to be tough.
On October 13, I will be running in part for myself. I need this marathon as a tangible reminder that humanity keeps on shining despite that darkness which never quite goes away. I’ll also be running in part because I need to be by my husband’s side, overcoming one more challenge with him, building strong memories in the face of an uncertain future. But, more than anything, I will be running for Boston. I’m dedicating my run to my new heroes, people like Adrianne. She’s a dance instructor who lost half of her left leg on Monday and is already – just seven days later – vowing that she’ll not only dance again, but run Boston in 2014.
In honor of all the survivors and victims, please consider helping me raise the money I’ve pledged as a member of Team Red Cross. I’ll be running the marathon under their banner and, while the branch I’m supporting is in Chicago, they are the same people who were so crucial in Boston. The people who were first responders. The people who saved lives. The people who transitioned in seconds from providing basic first aid to conducting triage on a battlefield.
I’ve promised to donate at least $1,200 to further their work, and I will need your help to make it happen. If you’re inspired to donate immediately, I feel I’ve got to ask you to look first to those who were directly affected (there are several good donation options here). They need aid now, and I have until September 20 to raise my contribution. So – while I’ll definitely be back with more entreaties for support in the future – for the moment I’ll leave you with what I think is the most important part of this story: the message to never give up.
~a prayer for Boston
By Scott Poole
is to rise above the weak spirit
is to take on pain
is to push pain in the chest
with both palms
stumbling over garbage,
gravel, fragments of life,
is to say I will take you
on in the street.
Every breath of mine
is a battering ram,
swinging a hammer of air.
I am a body of fast moving blood
taking you in like a tank.
I will consume your hate.
I will run straight into you
as if you were a finish line of joy,
picking up the fallen along the way
and you will never stop me,
you will never