Monday, April 22, 2013

Community



One week on, many tens of thousands of words have already been put on paper and screen expressing sentiments regarding the tragedy at the Boston marathon. I don't know that I can add much to the dialogue but I do have something.

I love my running community.

By most runner's histories, I am a newcomer. And I have found a welcoming, challenging group of people. Each choosing to suffer for their own personal reasons.

And everyone suffers in this sport. Never equally, but equally consistent. From the elites setting records to the weekend warriors bringing up the back of the pack, each hurts their way through each and every run. And yet, to quote Jeff Edmonds, "ours is not a violent sport."

I remember back to a particularly difficult trail race I ran last year. The wheels were coming off in full force and I found myself suffering through an overwhelming feeling of loneliness out there in the woods. I had been running alone for the last few miles. I was practically walking and people behind me were catching up. Each one slowed down, checked to see if I was okay, and gave me some encouragement to keep going. One even cruised with for a few minutes to chat. He got me running again and brought me into the next aid station where I was able to right the sinking ship.

These were my competitors telling me to pick it up, to finish with them. The loneliness subsided and I ran through the pain of the last 6 miles.

Whether it's Patton Oswalt's uplifting rant or numerous others out there, the message is clear; for every bad, angry person trying to push their skewed outlook on the world, trying to prove to the world that this is a bad place, there are a million citizens that choose good.

Ultimately, few run endurance lengths for bad reasons and I would say that none have been made worse psychologically or spiritually through the regular act of running. It is a sport of the internal, and it didn't deserve what happened in Boston.