I’m running a 5k this weekend. It’s my first 5k, and I’m super excited about it! I’ve been training on my lunch breaks, and I’m shooting to hit a certain time, and I’m stoked about the medal and I’m doing it with a couple friends and it’s going to be awesome!
It’s also going to be a very heavy 5k. Because it’s the Boston Athletic Association 5k, being held two days before the 118th Marathon. The Boston Marathon’s not just a big event, it’s the event, and because it’s one year after the Marathon bombings, it is THE event.
Anyone who knows me knows I was deeply affected by the bombing. Though I was miles away in East Boston when the bombs went off on Boylston Street, it’s still my streets, it’s still my city. I’ve walked that sidewalk hundreds of times, I know that spot in the universe. The day after the bombing I had the chance to prayer walk the city with my friends, to walk down to where Boylston was blocked off, to see the memorial in its early stages, to just be out and be with the people. The silence and vacancy of the area was eerie, and there was a weight of grief and shock, but also of community. The people of the city melded in weakness and strength. And then there was the manhunt. And THEN there was the lockdown. (By the end of that week we were exhausted!)
I had kind of been a runner at that point. It was always hard for me – floppy treadmill workouts after draaaaaging myself to the gym – though I always wanted to be a runner. A Runner. After the bombing last year, I thought, you know what? There are people who will never run again, who don’t have both legs anymore. I do. So I’m going to run, for those who can’t.
During our practice 5k last week, we jogged the route, which brings us down Boylston over the Finish Line (to finish on Charles Street), and I finally felt the excitement of the event, and the honor of running, and the weight of being in this location. We were jogging on the sidewalk and passed the sites of both bombings, where tributes still lay. On Saturday when I run all the elements of the Marathon will be up: barriers, signs, medical tent, Finish Line scaffold. It’s going to be my tribute and privilege to run that route.
Someday I’ll run the actual Marathon for those lost and injured, and for Boston. But a 5k is good enough this year!
For those lost and injured.
And for Boston.