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It’s been three years since I started running regularly. Why did I start running? What has running done for me, to me?

I ran for quiet, for health, for focus, for something to do. The reasons I began running were fairly superficial. But the reasons I kept running were far more significant: for peace, for positivity, for community. I am a better person when I run. My life is more positive, it’s on a more productive track. I’ve made new friends running – I met my fiancee running. Running has only changed my life for the better. Everyone I know who has started running would say the same. Running has led to positive, welcome changes in their lives: a sense of empowerment, a willingness to face challenges, vulnerabilities are cast aside. You are never stronger than at the end of a run.

And that’s why today’s events are so incredibly upsetting. Running doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s a no contact sport; the ultimate individual sport with a monumental community effort. Are other sports as communal as running? Do football or baseball players who are strangers to one another wave to each other when they pass on the field during practice? I don’t know, but I’m guessing not. Running is a club anyone can join, at any time, at any age, at any state of health. Ultimately inclusive. All are welcome.

What happened today at the Boston Marathon is not just cowardly, vicious, and reprehensible. It’s quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. I can not believe that whomever is responsible for this – individual or group, whoever those people are – doesn’t know a single runner; a single person who hits a trail at dusk or dawn to clear their head. Today’s acts weren’t an attack on America, or capitalism or whatever it is that people hate. It was an attack on the world. It was an attack on humanity as a whole. Humans were designed to run – our bodies are made for it. Running doesn’t care what your political views are, what your gender is, what color your skin is, what religion you practice, what you’ve been labeled. Running is for everyone.

When I ran my first half marathon in Lake Placid, NY, I was positively giddy at the sight of someone wearing a Boston jacket or singlet. It was awesome, awe-inspiring, inspirational. That person ran the creme de la creme of marathons – the ultimate effort. I think it’s more impressive for a “joe average” runner to run Boston, than anyone running the Olympic marathon. Now the blue and gold will take on a slightly different stroke of emotion. The inspiration will still be there – but coupled with a bit of sadness for what was lost today – the lives, the safety, the peacefulness of a hard running effort.

But that blue and gold will still stand for what it always stood for – resolve, strength, and the ability to overcome. Lace up your shoes tomorrow, friends, and put in a few miles of peace and reflection for today’s Bostoners – the runners, the spectators, and the dreamers.

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