After training for two years for the NYC Marathon 2012, I was devastated when the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy cancelled the annual race a mere 36 hours before it was supposed to be held. Although I agreed 100% with the decision, I felt the race should have been cancelled in a more timely matter. So many runners traveled cross country and even more internationally, and my heart broke with them as we walked around Marathon Sunday with our t-shirts on.
Runners have a bond. We put our bodies through crazy hours of physical endurance training, and live to tell it. I can’t tell you the countless times I have run through Central Park, and either chatted with a runner or someone started to chat with me. We know what we’re doing is crazy, but we still love it. That kind of commitment creates a comraderey, or fraternity like bond.
The race being cancelled was heartbreaking in itself, but the NY Road Runner’s dragged out decision made many (including myself) bitter. While we waited for the decision, NYC had become split. One side wanted the race to go on, to instill NYC pride after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, and to show that life does go on. The other side was angry. They were angry that we couldn’t control nature, that people had lost everything (including lives), and that people were going to run a “silly race” while those resources used in the race could be supplied to those who needed it more.
Threats started to come out that runners would be hurt if the race were to proceed. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to hurt the runners. Here we were, harmlessly dedicating hours of our day to fulfill a physical goal. The anger was misdirected and frustrating. I took some of the public’s misguided angry comments to heart, as NY Road Runners kept everyone in the fog. I get it, it was a hard decision for them. But at the end of the day, how hard really was the decision? Is risking anyone’s life worth the millions of dollars?
In the end, the race was cancelled due to the safety of the runners, and NYC beat on. With the recent Boston Bombings, my heart went out to the runners, families, volunteers, and all participants. I didn’t quite know how to capture my feelings about the bombings. As a runner, I sympathized for all those who trained and waited for the day, but could not finish. A recent CNN article captured the feeling I think many of us felt although we were not there.
As an American, I was confused and disheartened by the actions of others. As a human, my heart broke.
In the last year, our world has proven that we are not safe. We can no longer go to a movie theater, take our children to elementary school, or now fulfill a bucket list goal without wondering if that moment is our last. Everything we hold sacred and “off limits” has had its innocence stripped. For god only knows what reason, human beings out there are hurting one another to prove a point. It’s a scary world out there. I think to myself, would I want to be raise a child in this world? Would my parents have decided to have me if they knew what their children would witness in this day and age?
As we start to wonder what our world has come to, others have reflected on the beauty of a tragedy. While some chose to harm others, others ran towards the blasts and towards the victims. While some threatened to harm runners at the NYC Marathon, disappointed runners rushed to the aid of those in Staten Island and Red Hook. These selfless acts are what keep our humanity alive and brings us hope. Our lives are precious, and our relationships are timeless. We must look on towards the future with a hopeful heart, but learn. People will always hurt people. It’s a sad truth to swallow. It’s those that surround themselves with love and keep hope that prevents them from winning. We must endure. We will succeed.