Boston & the Bond of Runners

I once had a running friend tell me, “I’ve never met a runner I don’t like.” And as I thought about his statement, I agreed with him. It’s always an instant connection – “oh you run? Me too!” In fact, the majority of my friends are runners and the majority of runners I’ve met, I’d like to be my friend.

Maybe it’s the many solo hours spent on the road letting our minds clear and release stress, that makes runners more thoughtful.

Maybe it’s the bond formed on long runs as we share our heartaches, struggles, joys, that makes runners better friends.

Maybe it’s the common suffering we’ve all felt when pushing ourselves to the limit, both physically and mentally, to reach a PR, that makes runners more empathetic.

Maybe it’s the embarrassing moments we’ve all had on group runs (including for some people, the runs) that makes runners more understanding and able to laugh at themselves.

Maybe it’s the drive and determination we’ve all felt when training for a goal that makes runners resilient and hard-working.

Maybe it’s the heartache we’ve felt when we missed our goal by just-this-much that makes compassionate.

Maybe it’s the joy we’ve all felt when we accomplished a goal that makes runners more encouraging and able to celebrate others’ successes.

So it’s probably all of these reasons that the tragedy in Boston today has rattled me more than I can express. Yes, I had a few friends on the race course. My mom, a close friend and I were (are) all training to qualify for Boston so we can run it together next year. There are the thoughts that “it could have been me, it could have been my best friend…”  But even beyond the personal connections and the could-have-beens, I’m devastated and hurting for all the runners, volunteers, and supporters I don’t know. For the lives that were ended. And other lives, changed forever. I sat transfixed staring at the news when I first heard, constantly checked my twitter stream for updates. And when I went to my car to drive home, the tears started and haven’t much subsided.

I suppose it’s because I felt like today my safe haven, my community, a part of my very identity was attacked and wounded. My running friends, known and unknown, were impacted by this horrific event on what was/IS an enormously important, significant day for them. It’s just incomprehensible to me.

So the point in this post? I suppose I needed to get out my heartache and to share for runners everywhere that I’m grateful for our community. For the connections I’ve made with other runners, to whatever small or large degree. Grateful that we can share our thoughts, our friendship, our empathy, and compassion as we grieve.

In short, I’m grateful for the running community, near and far. And my heart aches along with you.

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  • Crystal

    Great post <3

  • Beth @ Mangoes and Miles

    This was the most beautiful tribute to Boston that I’ve read today. I agree with you 100%. Even though I didn’t know anyone in my actual life competing today, so many of my favorite bloggers are and to think that they’ve had such an experience taken away from them is so sad to think about.

    This, more than anything, resonated with me: “I suppose it’s because I felt like today my safe haven, my community, a part of my very identity was attacked and wounded. My running friends, known and unknown, were impacted by this horrific event on what was/IS an enormously important, significant day for them. It’s just incomprehensible to me.”

    I honestly can’t think of why anyone would want to take such an accomplishment away from anyone. It’s so sad. 🙁

  • Lauren

    Beautiful post. The bond of runners – including spectators – is powerful and supportive. So surreal that minutes before this happened I was watching runners pass mile 24 with smiles on their face because they were going to finish. Heartbreaking.

  • Meg

    So proud of my sport, so proud of my city. This is so sad.

  • BroccoliHut

    Your words reflect my feelings exactly. My aunt was running today, and that one hour in which I didn’t know her status was the longest of my life. This attack was so very close to home.

    I’m sad, and I’m scared.

  • Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate

    Beautiful post, Teri, I am sending my thoughts and prayers as well.

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs

    Beautifully written Teri. Such a sad & terrible turn of events. Absolutely heartbreaking!

  • Megan

    Love this and love you. So glad you weren’t out there today.

  • Melissa C

    Beautifully written post, Teri. My heart aches along with yours. I am also part of the running community and I cannot comprehend how someone could do this to other humans. Boston is like a runners superbowl, and I cannot believe someone would do this and take away this accomplishment. Sending my heart and prayers to everyone in Boston

  • Katie Hollingshead

    You were the first person I thought of when I heard about what happened. So glad you’re safe! Beautiful words!

  • Amanda Ebner

    I was there. I finished 20 minutes before the blast, which means I heard them but was spared from seeing them, probably because the Universe realized I couldn’t take that image emotionally. My parents were across the street, saw the events, but were thankfully on the “right” side of the road; I’d never live with myself if I was the reason my parents and other friends were injured or killed. The energy here in Boston is poisoned with fear and it is unfortunate.

    • Meghan

      Beautiful + thoughtful, sweet friend.

    • Meghan

      Sorry, I intended my general reply as a reply to the blog…

      But I had opened the reply under your comment, Amanda, because I felt compelled to say to you that I am so thankful to hear you are safe. I don’t even know you, but I felt a gripping sensation in my stomach reading your story and trying to imagine what you and countless others went through. I am so sorry you and so many others will have what should be nothing but an amazing and triumphant marathon experience be marked by this tragedy.

  • Jenn B

    Runners are a special breed. A common dedication and answer to so many things. Thanks for saying what I’ve tried to put into words.

  • lindsay

    it’s why we run, for others, for community, to grow stronger. Well said. hugs! and lots of PRAYER

  • Sarah

    very well said. great post.

  • Patty Fischer

    Teri, this sums up how I think many runners are feeling right now. I’m so thankful that you found the words for us to describe these emotions.

  • Alex

    I totally agree with you 100%. The thought that hundreds of people were going to accomplish something they have been working so hard for and was just taken away from them and more was so heartbreaking!

  • Kate @ life's precious moments

    Such a beautiful post. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Ali @ Around the VeggieTable

    Beautiful words <3

  • Lauren

    So beautifully spoken Teri! Truly so devastated over what happened yesterday but it is amazing to see so many of us come together through it all. The ONLY silver lining in the heart ache!

  • Marie @ Finer Points of Life

    Beautifully written post – I was there yesterday and it’s an event that will live on in my memory forever. More importantly though, I am already itching to get out there in 2014 and show the world that the outpouring of love and support our runner community embodies will ALWAYS beat terror.

  • Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl

    Beautifully written and my heart is breaking for Boston, also….

  • lynn chen

    beautiful. xo

  • Ashley

    You nailed it. Just lovely. xoxo

  • Barbara

    I ran Boston yesterday. i am feeling everything you are and more, but have not been able to express it so eloquently. Thank you for your post.

  • Mindy

    I couldn’t have said it better!

  • Sandy Villetti

    So beautifully written. Thank you for writing these words on behalf of all marathon runners out there. I am a proud member of this amazingly, strong and courageous group of people in the world!!! TEAM 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

  • Katie

    Beautifully written, my friend. You summed up those feelings so well.

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Thanks for your beautiful post, Teri. And I’ve ran hundreds of races in my life (5, 10k’s, half’s and marathons) and the It Could Have Been Me has been pounding in my head for a day now. My heart just aches. Thanks for expressing your thoughts and sharing.

  • Honey What's Cooking

    beautifully written. i’m not a runner, but I believe you when you say they make great friends. all you need is one activity to connect with another human being.

  • Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion

    I’m a runner, not marathons, but I run 5 km every day. I’ve been struggling to relate to this horrible event…. you have just put it in to words for me.

    Thinking of all the runners and their families.

  • Tricia

    You truly spoke for so many of us runners. Beautiful post.

  • Run to Fit

    Great words about this senseless tragedy. Love and respect for all affected runners.

  • Jolynn

    Beautifully written Teri.

  • Hayley

    Beautiful post. Such a sad and senseless act of violence.
    My heart aches for the runners and their families who were directly impacted.

  • Hally

    I think you said it better than I ever could. I couldn’t understand why this has my heart broken so much more than any other tragedy had. It’s because someone hurt my family… and no one is allowed to hurt my family. 🙁

  • purelytwins

    love this Teri! it is amazing to see how the running community coming together for such a heartbreaking moment in running history. xoxo