Medal or mettle?

Don’t mess with marathoners. Especially not Boston marathoners. Those folks are serious about their running. You have to qualify for Boston. I will never run Boston.

It’s been interesting reading some of the accounts of the runners. The ones who had “just finished” and the ones who were “about to finish” and the ones who were at mile 25.5, 7 tenths of a mile from the finish. People who run the Boston marathon take their finish line seriously. It’s how they measure themselves. How they know whether they have succeeded. Whether all this time in preparation, all the effort made to get to the race, all the pain endured throughout the race was worth it.

They are in the business of finishing. Immediately, they talked of next year, next race. Heck, why wait? A bunch of runners collected via social media connection and ran in defiance and remembrance that evening. Because there’s one thing you don’t take from a runner – her road.

I had it wrong. It wasn’t the finish; it was the road that was meant to be theirs, and theirs alone, on Monday. Their right. Their tradition. Their story. It’s been written along Boylston Street. And this horror of an un-finish is a story still in the writing. It has left unfinished business.

But not just for these. Because all across America other folks are taking to the roads in solidarity with these runners and “running for Boston” (#runforBoston). You can sign in and pledge to run a race of any distance before April 14th of next year. And, you can share your story.

Ironically, for all Michelle Obama’s efforts in the “Just Move” campaign to get a nation of people, especially kids, off the couch and out into the fresh air, this event may have surpassed it in less than 30 seconds. We are a nation that responds to faces and stories, not to causes.

There will be volumes of stories written about that day, but one touched thousands ~ woman who received a great kindness from an anonymous fellow runner. And via the miracle of Facebook the two runners have been introduced. Laura Wellington, who was the beneficiary of a great kindness from Brent Cunningham. (I’ll re-post the story below)

I just love in the comments on her page how people have said of Brent, “I’m not surprised. This sounds like him.”

Makes me wonder, if the story got out about something I’d done in a telling moment, what would it say about me? Or, if my life were taken in a flash, what would the remnants of my life speak?

Here’s Laura’s story…

As some of you know, I was 1/2 mile from the finish line when the explosion went off. I had no idea what was going on until I finally stopped and asked someone. Knowing that my family was at the finish line waiting for me, I started panicking, trying to call them. Diverted away from the finish line, I started walking down Mass Ave towards Symphony Hall still not knowing where my family was. Right before the intersection of Huntington, I was able to get in touch with Bryan and found out he was with my family and they were safe. I was just so happy to hear his voice that I sat down and started crying. Just couldn’t hold it back. At that moment, a couple walking by stopped. The woman took the space tent off her husband, who had finished the marathon, and wrapped it around me. She asked me if I was okay, if I knew where my family was. I reassured her I knew where they were and I would be ok. The man then asked me if I finished to which I nodded “no.” He then proceeded to take the medal off from around his neck and placed it around mine. He told me “you are a finisher in my eyes.” I was barely able to choke out a “thank you” between my tears.Odds are I will never see this couple again, but I’m reaching out with the slim chance that I will be able to express to them just what this gesture meant to me. I was so in need of a familiar face at that point in time. This couple reassured me that even though such a terrible thing had happened, everything was going to be ok.

Finishers medal

About wlebolt

Wendy is a health and fitness professional and coach who specializes in helping young athletes dig deep to reach high. Her business, Fit2Finish, LLC, serves the Washington DC metropolitan area.

Posted on April 18, 2013, in Body and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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