I’ve run a marathon, and several half-marathons. I couldn’t dream of being fast enough to qualify for Boston, but I do know something about the amount of effort and heart these runners put into getting ready for a great race today. It’s early morning long runs, and breath-sucking speed workouts, and aches and pains and injury and gradually learning to tell the difference between aches and pain and injury. It’s months of sacrifice (not least from our family members putting up with the odors we bring back from early morning long runs). Likewise for the race volunteers – people who took time out of their busy lives on a crisp spring day to help others have the smoothest, most memorable day possible. And the end of a marathon… it’s chaos and exhaustion, but it’s also about the closest I’ve ever come to feeling grace in a real way. Pure, earned grace.
A tragedy like what happened today is obviously going to be incomprehensible and awful no matter when and where it happens. But for it to be directed at people who are literally finishing one of their life’s most memorable moments… it just tears me up. My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims.