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April 17, 2014

Remembering the 2013 Boston Marathon One Year On…

Written by Dena Evans

Boston_StrongFor many runners, the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon has been a “where were you when you heard” moment in the year that has passed since.  In the immediate aftermath, many marathoners fielded repeated questions from casual acquaintances and close friends and families alike, concerned for their safety if they were running, concerned for their safety even if they weren’t running, curious about details about which the runner in question may have had no additional information than the average person.   Runners may have even dealt with a lot of “could have been me; could have been my family” feelings.  In general, many of us spent a fair amount of time reflecting on the race, the events which led to its premature ending, and how to respond.

 

The events of last April 15, where three lost their lives and 170 were injured, struck a chord among many, whether they were familiar with the experience of running a marathon or not.  Late summer Boston qualifying event registrations swelled as athletes started training for a chance to hit a mark before the September entry date.  Athletes who may have never run a marathon or even a 5K before pledged to train and enter this year’s race.  Runners whose race was left incomplete by police road blocks vowed to prepare again in order to finish what they started.  “Boston Strong” iconography became immediately understood as the extra dose of motivation needed to accomplish any array of tough tasks.

 

With the 118th running of the historic race only a few days away, the adrenaline is pumping through the collective veins of a race field ranging from Massachusetts native and American hope Shalane Flanagan down to the “run to finish” athletes in the third wave.  If your Patriot’s Day does not include the chance to join with these individuals as they strive for a national catharsis on behalf of all of us, what can you do to make a difference while the eyes of the world are turned to this bittersweet occasion?

 

Encourage others

Overcoming fear with courage has been a driving desire for many taking part in this year’s race.  For many of us, the fears that prevent us from getting out the door and starting down the road to a fitness goal are not nearly as sensational, but no less crippling in their ability to let inertia prevent us from moving forward.  Consider with whom you can partner to start toward a new goal by engaging in regular exercise. Make a point to come along side them with encouragement this week.

 

Donate

Marathons and charity drives go hand in hand these days, but if you are able and have been looking for a way to make a tangible difference, this race and those running it provide a group of people and causes who are likely some of the most highly motivated athletes to take on the fundraising challenge, including a lot of first timers.  Check out the list of official Boston marathon charities or scroll down your Facebook page.  Likely a runner you care about and believe in is working hard toward a big goal on Monday with others besides themselves in mind. Get behind them if you can!

 

Set your own new goal

Your training plans might not include Boston, or maybe the will was there, but the qualifier or time to train well was not.  Use the opportunity to consider what breakthrough you have been delaying and make some concrete plans toward getting past it.   Many have shown tremendous commitment and perseverance this year as they prepared for this particular race.  Let their stories inspire you to do something inspiring yourself!

 

Reflect, remember, and process

Running can often be our escape from the stresses of every day life. Depending on how close you were to the events of last April 15 or how shaken you were by the news, you may not have had the chance to be mindful of any grieving process you may have been going through, even if it feels a bit remote and true grieving is not the word you would use to describe how you processed your feelings about the tragedy.  Because we have some of the common experiences shared by those directly affected by the bombings, we would do well to make sure we haven’t glossed over any lingering doubts about future situations, talk it through with others equipped with helpful insight, and be conscious of our resolve to move forward confidently.

 

“Boston Strong” is a powerful phrase.  This week, consider how you can truly embody the spirit of the words and encourage others to do so with lasting, positive impact.

 

 

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