I found myself obsessing over the news, much as I had over 9/11. Less intense, but the same old obsession. Part of it was that 4:09 would be when my runner friends, my husband, and I would have been coming in, so I know these people. I know their families and friends. They’re the same ones who have watched me stumble into the corral, grateful for their presence. They have literally supported me after the race and we have laughed together about the “post-race waddle.” They have helped me up and down the stairs to the Paris métro and the Chicago el. They have understood when I cried because I walked off a race course and cried because I never expected to accomplish anything so big. I know them.
I was listening to APM: The Story, and Katherine Switzer was the first guess, talking about her past experiences with the marathon, and her current experience as commentator. She said a few things that I feel fully explain what the marathon is. My wording may be a little off. I was trying to write as I listened.
“…this event which is wholly a force for good…”
“A sport where nobody boos anybody…”
Answering the question, “What do you say to the people who say, ‘it’s just a race; why continue having it?'” It’s not just a race! “In the words of Roger Robinson (her husband, writer for a running magazine), at no other time and place in history or society will you see 27 or 30 or 40,000 people going through the streets in a movement that is wholly peaceful and joyful…”
Keep on running, my friends. Now it’s an act of defiance.