By: Sheila Gaudet
I am not a marathoner. These days, I’m not even a runner. Several years ago I walked a half marathon for charity and that is the extent of my long distance career. However, I spent middle school, high school, and college on track teams and loved the concept of distance running, if not the reality.
The Boston Marathon is magic. I’ve had so many friends run Boston and I always follow their training and success with special pride because it is BOSTON.
This year, my older son was scheduled to help volunteer at the marathon and I was thrilled that he would have a chance to experience it. Unfortunately, transportation fell through so he wasn’t there on Monday. We have volunteered and participated in many shorter races, but I wanted him to understand the magic that is the Boston Marathon. As a high school sophomore, I wanted him to see the dedication and persistence that is required of anyone who participates in the marathon and how varied the participants are. The lesson of “never give up” is crucial at this age and stage.
Instead, we’ve learned other lessons. I called him upstairs as soon as I heard about the bombings and we watched news unfold together. We watched the first responders, the race volunteers, the fellow runners and spectators rush in to help those who were wounded. We saw the power of social media as people checked in with each other and passed along information. We heard the anguish of those who were trying to find their loved ones and friends. We knew how easily that could have been us on any given day.
As a military family, we know too well the potential damage caused by explosive devices. My husband, like so many of our military members, has witnessed it first hand, and though he rarely talks about it, it has an effect. When it occurs in another part of the world it is easy to dismiss. When it occurs in a place so familiar, so comfortable, so much “home,” it has a different effect. My heart goes out to all those affected by the Marathon Bombings, to those who were directly injured, and to those who had their world shaken to its core.
The best of Boston came out Monday and rippled throughout the country. The Yankees playing Sweet Caroline in tribute echoed the support from the entire country. The Boston Marathon will continue, I have no doubt. I expect the competition for entries will only increase for next year and the crowds will be there to cheer, support, and encourage not only the runners, but each other as a strike back against the cowards who attack the innocents.
When I talk to my children about these events, I focus on the positive. So many people stepped up to help. No matter what evil happens in the world, the good people, often the person next door, will step up to help. By acting as individuals helping each other, we will never lose.