Friday, December 6, 2013
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Onlookers watch as runners cross the “1 Mile To Go” marker shortly after 12 p.m. Monday at the Boston Marathon. Just before 3 p.m., two bombs exploded 12 seconds apart at the marathon finish line, killing three and injuring 176 others.
Staff photo by Scott Martin
I spent the next hour on the phone, talking, texting, posting to Facebook and Twitter. I spoke to my parents, spoke to a few friends. I fired off a text to local runner Seth Hasty, who I knew was staying not too far from the finish and whose wife and young son were set to join him Monday. The sense of relief I got when I heard from him and other friends I knew who were in Boston to run, watch or report on the marathon was as great as the sense of relief I felt in all the phone conversations and texts from family and friends when they heard I was OK.
Like those runners at the "1 Mile to Go" sign, I felt so many emotions yesterday. I felt lucky I decided to leave the race when I did. I felt loved by the outpouring of concern from those who knew I was in Boston for the race. I felt sadness that one of New England's great treasures was attacked. I felt anger that someone would ruin such a celebration, attacking my friends (runners are all friends, even if we've never met, even more so after Monday).
I started running not quite two years ago and it has changed my life in so many ways. It's not just the health benefits, yeah those are great, but also the community. Like I said, runners are all friends. We are all in this together. Yes, we compete, but the beauty of road racing is that everyone is accepted. I had marathoners whose marathon pace is faster than my 5K pace offering advice, encouragement and a handshake after my PR in the BAA 5K on Sunday.
And I think that is why yesterday's events hurt so much. Yes, it was an attack on America, but it was also an attack on family and an attack on something that means so much to so many people.
I've joked recently that my goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon by the time I'm 50. That would give me 10 years. The amount of work it would take me to reach that goal is something I can't possibly imagine. I'm not sure I have the dedication, desire or talent to reach such a lofty goal. Spending the weekend at the marathon expo with so many runners who had reached that goal, running part of the same course, crossing the same finish line, I was convinced it was something I had to try to accomplish. I can't think of anything that would mean more to me as a runner to be a "Boston Qualifier."
After Monday's events, I'm pretty shaken up and have questioned whether I could run to that finish line without fearing for my life. But to see the way so many people have rallied in the last 24 hours to support each other, care for each other, lend a hand, I think now, more than ever, I want to be a part of it.
I want to be a part of that celebration.
I want to feel all those emotions when I see the "1 Mile to Go" mark, to feel all the love from all those fans, and to prove to whoever is responsible for this, you can't break our spirit, you can't take this away from us.
Scott Martin is executive sports editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.
Scott Martin — 621-5618