Brief Thoughts on the Boston Marathon

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I had the pleasure of running the Boston Marathon in April, 1996, the 100th Anniversary year of the event.  I was 25 years old and can remember being totally inspired by the support from the crowd lining the streets, much like I had been when running in other cities.  But the spectacle of the 100th running in Boston made it that much more alive and exciting, and I felt fortunate to be a part of it, running high on positive fumes for much of the race.

Today’s tragedy at the finish line in Boston is a striking blow, as all terrorist attacks are, to our sense of safety, innocence, and wonder.  What strikes me most about this one is the juxtaposition of the triumph of the human spirit and capacity—runners pushing themselves beyond limits while spectators and volunteers attend to various needs—with the depths of the human condition—the absolute worst of what human beings can inflict.

Like so many others, my thoughts and prayers are with the families who are suffering right now.  Just this morning I was talking with some friends about the enormity of being a parent and recognizing that in a split second, life can change irreparably, should something bad happen to our children.

For those of you who have experienced a significant trauma or loss prior to today, keep in mind that events like today’s are likely to stir up grief, fear, anxiety, sadness, irritability, and other uncomfortable emotions.  Reach out to those to whom you can talk about such things, including professional counselors or therapists if need be.  For those of you with young children not immediately impacted but concerned about today’s events, it is best to reassure them that this is a freak event that is unlikely to happen again or to them.  Children need to hear from their parents that the world is generally a safe place, filled with wonderful people who can help and protect them.  The reality is that there are also bad people who do bad things.  But kids need to be able to have faith that all will be fine in their worlds.  Keep your ears out for your kids’ fears, and make yourself available to talk as needed.

As for those of you in training for your next athletic event or physical pursuit, perhaps today gives you a dose of perspective—mostly, we are lucky to have what we have and to do what we do.  Worrying about training milestones or competitions or outcomes of our hard work is a luxury.  Taking time to appreciate that and to savor the moments of triumph and opportunity is as important as any PR or training session or trophy.  Life can change in an instant; harness the positives and work through the rest.  In each moment lie possibilities.

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Comments

  1. Nicely said. Thanks for taking the time to write about what happened.

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