Monday, 22 April 2013

Boston and the meaning of running

You could say this comes a little late, but these observations are hopefully about more than just "staying strong" and other oft-mentioned, though nevertheless noble sentiments.

Most things that have been said about the bombing itself have been in the general news media. From a running, or a runner's perspective it is difficult to put it into words. Questions abound - from what is the appropriate response to why do people run, and what does running mean beyond the purely physical aspect?

I had said in my blog last year that qualifying for Boston itself had ceased to be my aim. For me any of the majors (or other large marathon) will do. I do still want the qualifying time of 3:10, but now i think I would run the Boston Marathon if I got the chance.

The events of April 15 now mean that qualifying takes on an extra dimension - simply being there to run with everyone else would be the chance to make a statement.
Going for a run and speaking with my feet was the most eloquent response I could and can think of. After I lost weight and got into running, it was for emotional reasons that I became hooked. There's that race day feeling and all that goes with it - one's own "runner's high" but also sharing in those of everyone else on course.
Spectators give encouragement which all runners are heartened by - I once told myself it was applause for having lost 1/5 of my previous weight and therefore putting my life on a better path. Each runner, regardless of ability, is being applauded for the very same thing - with variations in the exact backstory.

To answer my own question of what running means, I believe that after gaining a base of fitness most come to a realization similar to mine: it brings out the best in me - so much so that I have surprised myself by surpassing my previous self-perceptions of not only my physical limits, but also mental and psychological.
I hope I speak for all runners then, when I say that it is by keeping on running that we provide the most overwhelming response to April 15, 2013.