The Finish Line.

Like everyone, I’ve been devastated by the bombings in Boston.  I was watching the elite runners in the morning, excited and in awe of their pure athleticism.  Then I thought of all the other runners – those who will never win, but nevertheless dedicate months and miles of their lives to prepare for the challenge of the marathon.

I’ve run 3 marathons – Atlantic City, New York and Harrisburg PA.  I know that feeling as you approach the finish line…all the months of training are coming to a glorious end.  The sense of accomplishment.  The euphoria.  The physical exhaustion. And the happiness.

Just this past Sunday, I finished the More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in Central Park, New York.  Almost 8000 women gathered to run 13.1 miles around the park, celebrating the women that run the world.  The finish line is full of families and cheering fans, and – at the More especially – proud children waiting for their mommies to cross that finish line.

My husband and 3 sons have been at all but one of my races.  They have cheered as I’ve run by, waited for me with open arms at the finish, ready to say “Good Job Mom!”  These pictures are two of my favorites…

Atlantic City Marathon, 2010
As I approached the finish, my then 7 year old son ran the last few yards with me.

New York City Marathon, 2011
At Mile 25 in Central Park, my boys were waiting for hugs and kisses as the Finish Line got closer.
I share these pictures because my heart is heavy for the family of Martin Richard, the 8 year old boy who was killed by the bombs.  He was there to cheer on family friends as they crossed the finish line.  Now he, and two others, are dead.
I can’t fathom this.  I can’t imagine my kids waiting for me at the finish line and then being murdered.  How can anyone imagine that?
Now I think about all my future finish lines, and those of my fellow runners around the world.  How will we approach them?  Will we fear for the safety of those gathered there?  Will I fear for my children and husband?  Will I fear for myself?
I’m so angry.  I’m so sad.  That some coward, full of hatred, can turn a day of celebration of the human spirit into a day of terror and agony.
When we see so much suffering and sadness, we often wonder what we can do to help.  We want to do something – to help those involved and to somehow ease our own sorrow.  Runners around the world today ran miles for Boston, wearing shirts from their races.  I ran too.  
My husband and I often talk about the fact that we each have one life – one life to fill with fun, love and kindness.  That’s why I run marathons.  They are a challenge.  The marathon pushes me to accomplish something I never dreamed possible.  I love to run.  It gives me peace.
And we owe it to ourselves to keep healthy.  We owe it to our families.  We have one life – to live in the healthiest way we can, to prolong it so that we can fill it with as much goodness as is possible in the world.  To spread happiness, kindness.
And that’s why I’ll continue to run and pursue the next finish line.  Why my sons and husband will be there to meet me.  I’m running the New York City Marathon this fall. I will not let fear deter me from that finish line.  My family will not let terrorists win by keeping us from the life that we love.
So how do we honor those lost and maimed in Boston?  We run.  We live our lives to the fullest extent possible. We live our lives full of kindness and compassion.  And we must not fear what makes us strong.  I will live this way until I cross my final finish line.

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