Monday, April 15, 2013
I wasn't sure about joining the groundswell of blogposts, Facebook posts and tweets about this tragic day. But the thing is I can't not, because this one is very real to me.
There has been a lot of bang on commentary about the amazing , selfless acts of bravery, as people ran towards the site of the blasts to help those in need. Who ran towards potential danger, with no thought of their own safety. But then, perhaps this nation has learnt from the heroic acts of those who ran into the burning Twin Towers, and who fell to their deaths with those they were trying to save. Of those that run into schools with armed kids trying to kill other kids. Heroes.
I want to write about those you saw running. Those people who were almost at the end of a huge physical and emotional effort, those who were in such a mental "zone", it probably didn't register that they were in danger, that their lives were at risk.
I ran the Sydney Marathon last year and bored you all rigid with it for a good 6 months, finishing off with this . My marathon experience was joyous. I ran with all shapes and sizes, all ages, all states of mental and physical fatigue. And I ran joyously. Not one moment wasn't. I flung my arms in the air and crossed the finishing line of my marathon, joyously. And then I put it in the file called "Highlights of my life" because it was one. Running a marathon isn't about tying up your shoes and pinning on a number. It's months and months of lonely hours, just you, the footpath, and your own thoughts and doubts.
Every person who lined up at the start line of the Boston Marathon did so as winners. They had done everything they needed to be there. They had everything they needed to cross the finish line. For many this may have been their "Everest", it may have been the hardest thing they'd ever do in their lives. Yet that was taken from them.
Four years ago, I watched the end of a marathon, gulping back tears and with a fierce determination that I'd do that one day. I had stumbled across it, and stood transfixed, watching the wave of determined and focused faces as they stumbled their last few hundred metres. Then only a few years later, my family and friends waited expectantly at the finish line waiting for for me.
I don't want to take away attention from the tragedy. Because this is a tragedy. But these people running and those watching expectantly and supporting the runners, have had something taken from them, their joy, their trust, their achievement and in the 143 tragic cases (and counting) so much more.