Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy

I’m still processing my reaction to the bombings today at the Boston marathon.  When I started seeing status updates on Facebook today, I rushed to a news website and saw the horrific news.

Thankfully one of the local running stores that I follow on Facebook immediately posted that all of the runners that were there with their group were okay and accounted for.  Another friend posted a Fresno Bee article confirming that most of the Central Valley runners were confirmed safe.  I know a few of them.

I am still just shocked.  As a runner, I started wondering what it was like as someone not yet across the finish line at the time of the blast.  The Boston marathon is a pinnacle racing achievement, and to be told you can’t cross the finish line had to be devastating.  Not to be unsympathetic to the actual victims of the race, but having run a marathon, the emotion in that is so high, and the thought processes dull to basic needs.  Runners call it “race head.”  You have the attention span and cognitive functions of a 3-year-old.  In a normal race, the worst thing a volunteer can call out is a full sentence, such as “Gatorade up ahead, I have water.”  They need to just yell “water.”  To have to stop and process a volunteer or police officer’s instructions that it is not physically safe or possible for you to finish the race you’ve been training months—maybe years—for, is unfathomable.

How much worse for the runners and spectators actually injured or killed.  Another race group posted on Facebook asking everyone to wear a race shirt (almost all races give out a shirt as part of your entrance fee) tomorrow in support of those who died today.  One of the three fatalities was an 8-year-old boy.  Over 100 people were injured.  I’m crying watching the news reports online.

I wouldn’t be able to qualify for the Boston marathon as my time isn’t fast enough for my gender and age, but it was pretty sobering to read the timeline on a news story and realize that there is a very good possibility I could have been at the finish line or near it when the bombs went off.  I would be running about a 4h15m marathon.  Non-elite runners were released in waves between 10:10 and 10:40.  I would have been in the middle or toward the back of that pack.  The bombs went off at 2:50.

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