Why we run (and will continue to)

Yesterday’s tragic events at the Boston Marathon has left me shaken and confused. As a fellow runner, I feel the sport and running community were unnecessarily put under attack. Why?

I can relate to the relief, elation and joy those runners were feeling as they approached the finish line, pushing four-and-a-half hours. There is no better sight than the end, knowing you are so close to completion and accomplishing a dream you’ve had for multiple years.

It’s also a time for celebration with loved ones who have watched you suffer through the race and endured months of training. Typically, sights of joyful blood, sweat and tears abound when you embrace your medal.

Rather, horrific scenes of blood, sweat and tears were seen at this year’s Boston Marathon. These images are forever in our common memory.

Running is one of the simplest and most peaceful activities people can do with their time and energy. This innocent source of inspiration must not be taken from us. The sport is ours to reclaim.

This is why we run, and why many of us will continue to champion the sport, despite the atrocities displayed yesterday.

1. It takes nothing but your own body, mind and spirit to accomplish. No toys or tools required.

2. It makes you feel weightless and free. Fear evaporates away and is replaced by calm.

3. It erases any other pain you may have present in your heart – sadness, grief or loss. (And it’s cheaper than therapy.)

4. It brings you in with and close to nature. Specifically the solid ground.

5. It pushes people beyond their (supposed) limitations.

6. It brings people together in equal step no matter what colour, class, age or gender.

7.  It feels really good, no matter what place you got or how long you lasted. The notorious Runner’s Glow or High is addictive.

8. It is great (and inexpensive) exercise.

9. It is meditative.  The rhythmic crunch of shoes and deep breaths is the quiet soundtrack.

10. Quite simply, we run because we can. We realize there are others who are unable and so we also do it for them.

I sincerely hope that these painful moments become a source of strength to just keep running peacefully and collectively. Especially for the victims and their families. Humanity needs it.

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