It has been a month since the tragedy in Boston. As a runner, April 15, 2013 will always be a day close to my heart. I didn't express my feelings much at the time because I needed time to process what this terrible event meant to me. We all took to twitter and FB to comfort each other.
Runners are a family. We make up one of the largest communities in the world. One that doesn't judge your color, race, religion, weight, height or ability. We lend a hand to each other and offer words of encouragement. Our community includes not only the runners, but our spectators (most of which are family and friends), race volunteers and above all the police officers who provide safety along the race. None of use would succeed without the support of this community. One month ago, two cowards went after my community.
Nashville was my first race after the attack; just two short weeks. It just happened to be pouring rain. Neither of these factors stopped any of us from making this race a success! The volunteers were out in force. The spectators came out to support friends, family and all the random strangers. The police officers were at every intersections protecting all of us. Every runner was ready to support our brothers and sisters and run our hearts out!
However, this attack reminds me when I run that I am vulnerable. Not to injury or pain (which is true) but to the outside world. I have never run a race and ever been concerned about my safety. Who would attack a bunch of runners? Why would someone attack a bunch of runners? It never crossed my mind that the racing community was anything but safe. After all, we are supposedly the crazy ones for running 13.1 or 26.2 miles for FUN!
Reality of the racing future hit me upon arriving at the start line in Nashville. The SWAT team was assembled in full gear, ready and waiting should a threat arise. The mounted police were patrolling the park. I can only imagine that the same increased security measures were occurring at the finish line. This was the first time at a RNR event that security was standing guard at my corral. While all the extra protection did increase my anxiety (full disclosure I worry about everything), it did not diminish my desire to run. I'm glad that someone was watching out for me so that I could continue my beloved sport!
This weekend I head to the busiest city in America to run. The Brooklyn Half is my way of saying you can attack the running community but you will never stop us! If those cowards did anything, they encouraged more people to run and fulfill their dreams!