I never liked Boston.
I went to college equidistant from New York and Boston, and there was a definite clash of cultures: either you were a fan of a real city or you supported Boston. I've been to Boston several times, and it just never spoke to me. So I was never interested in doing the Boston Marathon. Sure, I would probably have to wait a few age group levels before I could even think about qualifying, but it was never even on my radar. Not interested.
But I get it. Boston is the marathon of marathons. It's a race that people dream about doing for years, decades, lifetimes. There are millions of runners out there who say "someday, I'll make it to Boston."
23,336 people started the 2013 Boston Marathon.
468 crossed the finish line after the bombs went off.
That number 468 amazes me. Many of those people had to run towards/past the explosions to get to the finish line, and they did. Many people did not see the explosions, just the total chaos of the aftermath, and they continued the race. Every individual racer had their own reason for making it to the finish line, whether it was determination or simply denial about what was happening around them, but I think it just says something about how important finishing this race was.
We see too many tragic news stories, but there is something different about Boston. If a train blows up, or an office building, the victims are mostly people going about their daily routines. But yesterday's victims were at the finish line of a race - every one of them gave up their day to come out and support a friend or a family member. Many of them traveled far to get there. I'm sure they spent hours tracking their individual racers, worrying about how they were doing with very little information. I know the stress and excitement of race spectating very well, and that's what the victims were doing that afternoon. They were there doing something GOOD.
On the other side of things, I don't know how many times I've been the racer and saw friends waiting for me at a finish line. It brings tears to my eyes to think that someone could come to watch me at a race to cheer me on and in an instant could wind up losing a leg. Or their life.
And I think about the Boston finishers, and those who couldn't finish. Their special day, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for many, was taken away from them. Their accomplishment is forever overshadowed by tragedy.
My favorite viral image of the day is this photo of the Brooklyn Academy of Music:
For this week at least, I ♥ Boston.