Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The World of Running is Forever Changed

I have felt it.

You can not line up at the starting line of any race without feeling the world of running has changed since April 15, 2013. There is a certain fear for both participants and those who watch , what if it happens again? I have to say I have been thinking about this frequently lately.

The bombings at the finish line in Boston at the marathon have forever changed the way organizers plan for races. There are new rules that are in place, more security measures and just a different feel to races . I have ran three races since then and you can definitely feel the change . The mindset of the runners and spectators have changed as well.

The best example I can think of was this years Buffalo Marathon. I have run larger marathons before and there was always security , but not like this. There were helicopters flying overhead, several Coast Guard Boats in the water and police and security at every turn . You knew there were eyes everywhere, I felt secure, but I still worried , not for me but for the spectators , particularly my biggest fan , my wife.

She was downtown , in with the crowds , if anything like Boston were to happen in Buffalo then it would most likely happen there. I was a moving target, she was stationery . Although I knew that the chances of anything happening were almost zero, it still doesn't erase the fear or put the thought out of your head.

On Monday July 15th I start training for the biggest race of my life , the ING New York City Marathon. I have always dreamed of running this race since I put on my first pair of running shoes  . Although I am super excited I do worry about my wife , my sister and my sister in law, who will be watching me and my brother run the five boroughs of New York. Am I putting them in harms way because I am being selfish?

I know the answer to that is no. They are grown adults who make their own decisions . Also I know that New York will be the most secure place on the planet that day, but again it doesn't stop the fear of something happening to them.

Then this morning I read an article about Bill Iffrig
Bill Iffrig

He is a 78 year old runner from Washington state. You know him as the man in the orange tank top who was knocked down by the blast at the finish line in Boston. He got back up and finished the race. 

I guess that is what we runners do, we press on. We fight through many obstacles such as weather, injuries and other environmental challenges just so we can experience running across that finish line again. The people who watch us give everything that we have to cross that line want to experience that with us  , that is why they are there. It is a relationship that should never be torn apart by fear of something happening, because if it does then the terrorists have won.