The Boston Marathon

I mostly write about food, and sometimes about China, or wherever I happen to travel to. But today I need to write about the Boston Marathon.

The Marathon has always been important to me. I’m related to a historical winner of it (generations ago). It’s a day of pride and celebration of Boston. I’ve volunteered to hand out water. I’ve worn the nylon Boston Athletics Association jackets with pride for years. My family and friends have run it in every year. If I hadn’t been living in China for the past three years, I would have been running it.

I woke up this morning to a voice message from my sister telling me that everyone in the family was all right. I had no idea what she was talking about, but it took about thirty seconds online to start seeing the headlines, and more heartbreakingly, the pictures. I’m extremely lucky that when I checked the facebook profile of everyone that I could remember having mentioned running, reported in safe and sound. My cousin was one of the first responders at the finish line, he and his family are also safe.

Boston is my home, no matter how many years I live in opposite corners of the globe. Boston is where I grew up, where my friends and my families are, where all my roots are. And the marathon. Running has been a huge part of my life. Many of my friends run. The track and cross country team in high school became part of my family.

A marathon is a commitment. It is dedication. It is hopes, dreams, sweat, blood, blisters, and countless hours spend pounding pavement. Not only that, but particularly for the Boston Marathon, it is philanthropy. The point at which the bomb went off, 4 hours in, that time is not the extra qualified runners. These are groups of people who have committed not only to the monstrous feat of pushing their bodies to run twenty six freaking miles, but also, to raise money for various causes. They are doing this for someone else. I’ve run for charity before, and the people on my team? They were amazing. That four hour-ish time is just full of amazing, giving, wonderful, everyday people trying to do something great and give something back at the same time. And I’ll be honest, when I saw the time, I gave some thought to my own pace in the half marathon, and that’s about where I’d be finishing. I’ve shopped at that Marathon Sports before, the explosions were close to friends’ childhood homes and college apartments. I don’t know how someone could be so evil, so malicious, to deliberately cause harm like this, but I’m choosing not to think about that. I’m focusing on the amazing people who pulled together in the face of calamity.

I  read about runners who finished after the blasts but before the race was completely halted, who kept right on running over to MGH and the medical tents to give blood. This made me cry. Because those wonderful, amazing people who gave no thought to themselves or the really fucking difficult physical feat of twenty six goddamn miles, but went straight on to try and help the blast victims.

Anyway, I’m so proud to be from Boston today. I am so proud of the running community, so glad to have come from the amazing running community of Boston.  My thoughts, love and prayers are for Boston right now, for the people who come together to celebrate such a great event, the volunteers and first responders who worked tirelessly to keep the runners safe from further explosions, for the people who were hurt and killed. You can bet that some day when I’m back home, I’ll be running the marathon. If I can’t run, I’ll volunteer. We have had this amazing tradition for one hundred and sixteen years, and the actions of some sick twisted ruin of a person can’t destroy that.

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