A Tribute to Boston

Sunday, April 14 at sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge

Dinu: You should run Boston!
Sarah: Me? I can’t qualify. Not until I’m 60 maybe.
Dinu: Ok, so when you’re 60.
Sarah: Yes, inshaAllah.

Monday, April 15 circa 3:30 P.M. in the New York Department of Health Ladies Room

Voice 1:  …two explosions… bombs..
Voice 2: Do you know anyone running Boston?
Voice 3: …friend from college…

Boston is the world’s single 26.2 mile challenge that needs no noun. Back in 1990-something I caught my first glimpse of Boston on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings: it looked cold and snowy and yet the runners pushed forward. I had never run more than the mandated mile in school and did not know why anyone would. However, I saw something that would came back to inspire me–people who looked determined, strong, and fun.

Years later, upon discovering the joy of running, Boston continues to serve as an anchor for inspiration. Boston is the game changer. Every time I read the plight of Kathrine Switzer, I am shaken at how Boston changed the American landscape. It is because of Boston that today I have the license to run. Boston is the goal.  Many of my friends train all year to qualify. When they return in their Boston jackets, I enjoy many miles of stories about surprising weather, thoughts of quitting, persistence on the run, navigating crowds, and all the excitement that comes with Patriots’ Day. Boston is the standard. Everyone knows someone who did Boston, and we compare to gauge other races and make connections. Boston is the event. Running is not usually considered a spectator sport; however Boston is an event that people actually watch in person and on television. Boston is the party. Runners, families, spectators, and supporters gather year after year to support one another in the simple act of running.

Boston is not a site of  bloodshed.

Monday, April 15 at 10:00 P.M. Telephone with Dad

Dad: You could have been there.

Several of my Baltimore Pacemaker friends were there to run or spectate. I still do not know the status of all, and I pray that all of my fellow runners and friends in Boston heal fully. I pray for my fellow runners that I know and those who I do not know. I feel especially connected with my family of runners, with whom I share a culture of discipline and passion: waking up before sunrise day after day to run, selecting wholesome foods, taking responsibility in our health, setting and achieving goals, caring for one another, and electing happiness everyday.

The tragedy in Boston today is antithetical to the culture of running, to the culture of humanity, and to the culture of any human race or religion that has ever existed past or present. The lives lost cannot return; the limbs amputated cannot run; and the nightmare witnessed cannot disappear. As a runner, as a Muslim, and as a human, I stand, trembling, with Boston.