When I started running I didn't know much about it. I only wanted to run a 5k. I didn't know what it took to run a marathon, only that I thought I would never run one. As I became a runner, and met other runners, I knew what lengths people went to train for their dream marathons. Months and months of training goes in to preparation for a marathon. And for some people, it even takes years to get them to the point where they will be ready to run their dream marathon.
This is the case for the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is a dream marathon for many. t is a prestigious event for those skilled, highly trained runners, that have what it takes to qualify. They have the speed, the dedication, and have put in the countless amount of training required to be eligible for such an amazing race. I, myself, couldn't even imagine ever being able to qualify to run Boston.
However, I do know people that were running the Boston Marathon this year. Some of my Suncoast Strider friends were going to be headed to Boston to run the marathon. I was beyond excited for them. I was especially excited for Marcia, who I had gotten to know better during my trip down to Sarasota back in March for the Sarasota half marathon. Marcia was one of my roomies for the trip and was nothing but kind and encouraging. I looked up to her as a running role model. I could only wish to be like her one day.
I wished her luck through social media the day before the race and on the Monday of the race looked for constant updates. Marcia's husband Patrick was updating the Facebook world on the status of our 3 Strider Boston Marathoners. He provided split time updates for Marcia, David, and Andrea. I checked every chance I could. I was extremely excited for them.
The last I read was that Patrick had split time updated for David and Andrea, but nothing for Marcia. He had no clue where she was and was hoping for a chip malfunction. I hoped that she was OK. I knew she was a strong runner, and I doubted anything was wrong. I went back to work and just assumed the best. A short while after I took a break and checked my text messages. I had a news article about the Boston Marathon waiting in my inbox.
|Exposion in Boston|
"Explosions at the Boston Marathon - many runners injured". My heart dropped. All I could thin of was the last status update from Patrick. No split time update from Marcia and that he didn't know where she was, and now there was news of an explosion. All I could do was scroll through everything on Facebook to make sure everyone was safe. Thankfully, everyone was. Apparently Marcia's leg had cramped up, and she was just shy of the finish before the explosion. David and Andrea had already finished. Everyone was safe.
I also checked on Instagram because I knew a few people I was following were running Boston as well and I wanted to check on their wellbeing. They were all safe as well.
|Damage in Boston|
I was happy that everyone I knew was safe, but not all of the runners were, and an 8 year old boy waiting for his dad to finish the race was killed. This was an extremely tragic event. I thought about all of the races I had run, all of the people waiting at the finish with smiles and excitement. And how this was all brought to such a hateful end. I thought about all of the people who trained for years to live out their dream, only to have it ruined. People who had been injured and could quite possibly never run again - something they love so much. I was in complete awe of the situation.
And then, in light of the disaster, runners around the world came together to run for Boston. People were organizing runs around the country where runners would unite for Boston. Many of these runs were to take place one week from the tragedy of the Boston Marathon. I was thrilled when I realized that I could make it out to one of them.
The FitNiche at the Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel was one of the places organizing a group run. There were several others around Tampa, as well as in many other cities in the United States. I also saw that there were runs organized in London, Paris, and throughout Canada. I made it out to the FitNiche event with some friends.
|Runners United for Boston|
There were about 400 runners who showed up to run for Boston. It was amazing to me to see such a great turnout. It made me proud to be a runner. Proud to be part of a community of people who will stand together, run together, support each other, and not let terrible acts of hatred bring them down. Instead they will rise up above these acts and run even harder, faster, stronger than before.
|Runners Outside of FitNiche Wiregrass|
At 6:30pm the runners were off. The first mile was run in silence for the victims. We ran through part of the outdoor mall and then onto State Road 56. Cars would honk and cheer at us in support of what we were doing. It felt good to be out there with so many people, all running for the same reason.
|Me, Anna, Emily, Mera|
After the 3.1 miles for Boston was finished the four of us met up again in front of Fit Niche. As the runners were still coming in people were cheering and it was a great event. I was happy I was able to take part in it, and also got to see pictures later on of all the other runs for Boston going on at that same time. We truly were all United for Boston.