Running, in my mind, epitomizes simplicity, purity and innocence. Who doesn't remember the childhood joy of running through the summertime sprinkler, playing tag, or chasing fireflies at dusk?
Running only requires a bit of God-given gravity and the ability to quickly put one foot in front of the other. No other sport is as pure and simple.
Runners will agree that the activity is freeing in a way that nothing else is. Cares can be left behind while our feet metronomically hit the ground and our lungs rapidly exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. We often run on "auto-pilot," allowing our creative juices to flow freely. Our senses heighten, taking in the surrounding sights and smells as we cover ground.
Runners are, for the most part, a very friendly, diverse and accepting bunch. We cheer each other on during races (even from the sidelines), encourage one another as we reach for goals, and support one another as we battle through injuries. Political and religious differences are usually set aside as we revel in the commonality of our chosen sport.
Yesterday, however, what is arguably the running world's most visible and famous institution was attacked. The repercussions obviously go far beyond the running community, but we as runners take it personally. Much like the country came together after the 9/11 attacks, runners are showing their characteristic support and unity now more than ever. This community, thanks to online social media, is numerous. We communicate extensively and often. Today, many of us are wearing race shirts as a sign of support and remembrance for those who were affected by the bombings.
I'll go out on a limb to speak for the running community that I'm privileged to be a part of. I truly hope that the pathetic, waste of skin coward or cowards responsible for this act of terror are caught and brought to justice, and punished accordingly. I'll keep to myself the form I believe that punishment should take.
Let's all agree that, while we may mourn and share sadness, we won't be deterred from pursuing our passion.
We runners may get knocked down from time to time, but we always get back up...and run more. We as runners may have had a bit of our childlike innocence stolen from us yesterday, but our resolve and passion can't be stolen.
Thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families...