As you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you. Your commonwealth is with you. Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again.
President Barack Obama on April 18, 2013
On Monday evening 250 runners gathered at our local running shop in Baltimore. We wore vintage Boston Marathon jackets, old Boston College t-shirts and faded Red Sox baseball caps. Some of us wore Boston Marathon 2013 shirts. Some of us wore whatever blue and yellow we could find. We left Charm City Run, headed towards the water and ran along the Inner Harbor.
Tourists taking a stroll around the Inner Harbor asked where everyone was going. One tourist shouted out: “is this a charity race?” and a runner ahead of me replied, “No, we are running for Boston.” There was banter about alma maters and upcoming races. There were furrowed brow conversations about children. There was talk of plans and training for the Boston Marathon in 2014. There was the silence of those who chose to run alone. And, in all of it, there was togetherness.
Ryan and I ran together. I can’t remember the last time we logged four miles together. Our legs were still tight from the weekend’s long run, but we jogged side by side and quietly acknowledged where we were at the same time one week ago. As we turned the last corner around the Inner Harbor, we were hit with a gusty head wind. Ryan maintained the pace and I tucked in behind him starting to feel winded and uneasy. I acknowledged the discomfort and kept going. I tried to move my mind from my discomfort and I was reminded of an interview I saw with one of the women who lost her legs in the explosion. She was at the finish line cheering for her sister and the bomb went off just before she finished. When she woke up from surgery the first thing she said to her sister was, “I can’t believe I didn’t get to see you finish.” To that, the sister says, “I can’t wait to get you back on your feet, because when we do I am going to run with you every step of the way to your first marathon finish.”
I hope for healing. And as the recovery unfurls both for the city of Boston and within the lives of those affected, please know that we are still running and that we will keep running. We run to remember. We run to heal. We run for you. We run with you. Because, in our heart of hearts, we know that you will run again.