The Boston Marathon and the Freedom to Run

When I walked into work yesterday, all of the tv’s on the sales floor were turned to CNN.

My coworkers were gathered around a few of the tv’s looking up in shock and amazement. Their faces spoke to me before I even asked them what happened. “There was an explosion at the Boston Marathon. 2 people are dead. About 23 are injured,” my coworker was able to mutter to me after I asked what was going on.

My heart sank. And as I looked up at the tv with the rest of my work crew to try to get the full story, explosion at the Boston Marathon kept ringing in my ears. Why? How? Who would do such a thing?

Running is a freedom that everyone can experience. It doesn’t limit by race, gender or class. It doesn’t limit by age. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you grew up in. Or what country you live in. Running creates liberty and frees everyone. There’s no membership fee or club to join. There are no rules. Throw on some shorts and a t-shirt, lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement. What’s more freeing than that? Millions of runners take that freedom to new heights through racing. They set a goal to run a certain distance. 1 mile, 5K, 8K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon. They run miles for loved ones with debilitating diseases. They run for themselves to lose weight or take care of their health. They run in memorium of someone dear to them. They run because they know someone who can’t run.

Yesterday, that freedom was messed with. It was thrown back in our faces and stopped us in our tracks. While the world watched one of the most sought-after and prestigious marathons in the history of organized running, some hateful person attempted to kill that freedom. Three people lost their lives and more than a hundred were injured, which saddens me to my core. I may never know the answer to “why” this happened. I don’t even think I want to know who did it and how. What I will seek out and lean on is the solidarity of the running community after this tragedy.

What seems to be constant throughout all of the devastating events I’ve witnessed and lived through is how much we all come together to support each other. The running community is no different. Having the freedom to run is a liberty we don’t ever want taken away, so we will fight for it. We will run on. We won’t let fear discourage us from coming together. I am in awe of the efforts that have been organized around this tragedy. Virtual runs, social media involvement, organized runs through different running groups. It’s inspiring. And it sheds a little light on the fact that there is still good in people.

If you’re looking for a way to show your support, here are a few ways to do just that:

Black Girls RUN! #BGR4Boston – Starting Tuesday, April 16, 2013 through Friday, April 19, 2013, Black Girls RUN! Nation is hosting the Black Girls RUN! for Boston Virtual 26.2. We encourage everyone to go run/walk  26.2 minutes OR 2.62 miles OR 26.2 miles over the next three days for #BGR4Boston, in support of those who lost their lives, trained and sacrificed for one of the most esteemed races in the world.

Wear a race shirt or blue and yellow to work (via @RunChat) – On Tuesday and throughout the week, let’s show the world how strong the running community is. Now is the time to unite and stand as one. When you head out for a run, wear a race shirt. If you can dress casually to work or have the day off, wear a race shirt. If you don’t have a race shirt or if you have to dress up for work, show your unity with the Boston Marathon colors of blue and yellow.

Dedicate your miles to Boston – If you plan to run or walk or exercise in any way throughout the week, dedicate that movement to Boston. If you are still able to exercise your freedom to run, get out there and do it. Post your miles or minutes run on social media. I’ve seen the following hashtags to show solidarity: #RUN4BOSTON #RUNFORBOSTON #PRAYFORBOSTON #BostonMarathon2013

I will be praying for those who lost their lives, those who are injured and their families as we all try to work through this and make sense of it, if any. We will run on and we will endure. We will exercise our freedom to run and we won’t take it for granted.

Be Renewed!

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