On running and road races

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I love the atmosphere of road races. It’s funny, running is the thing you dread during gym class, the part you roll your eyes about during practice for other sports. But there’s all these clichés about it–the adrenaline rush, its addictive qualities, how it provides stress relief, etc., etc.–that I kind of get into. And despite the fact that it’s an individual activity, camaraderie between runners is so interesting: when you feel like death, there’s something comforting about the fact that there are thousands of complete strangers around you who feel the same way.

The Boston Marathon is the premier running event of the year. It’s one of the hardest to qualify for and a major goal a lot of runners aim for. The bombs went off around the 4:09 mark, just under a 10-min. mile pace and around the time when a high volume of runners would likely be finishing.

My body will probably never let me run a full marathon, and it feels like my distance running days are over (as I sit with an icepack on my knee). But I love short races just the same, and Monday’s event reverberated in a lot of other ways as well: seeing a flurry of activity at Sports Illustrated to change the cover, include new stories, and take out casual references with the words “bomb” or “explosion” just hours before it’s supposed to go to the printers; emails of concern and support shared between members of a running group; a frantic call from a close friend doing his residency at Boston Children’s Hospital.

What happened in Boston on Monday was terrible, and the full effect will continue to sink in as more details are uncovered. But I was heartened by this from Quartz’s Caroline McCarthy, “It’s Ours, And You Can’t Take It Away“:

I don’t know why anyone, or any group of people, had the twisted motivation to commit this attack. […] But one thing, for those of us who run, is clear: Whoever chose one of the world’s greatest distance running events for both amateurs and professionals as the target of a terrorist attack will most certainly not convince a single one of us to stop running.

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