Purely by coincidence, in the early hours of Monday, April 15, FamilyWize posted the article Where are all these marathon runners coming from?, about the growing phenomenon of people taking up distance running, and even marathon racing, during adulthood.
Just a few hours later, the horrible tragedy of the now-famous Boston Marathon bombing shook us all.
After the Boston Marathon explosions rocked the race route, an unexpected phenomenon occurred; rather than runners turning away from marathons in fear, runners across the U.S., and even around the globe, united to show their support for the victims of the Boston bombing and to express their determination to not cower in the face of terrorism at one of their most beloved events, but to continue participating in races in spite of it. Special Facebook pages and Twitter #runforboston threads came alive, buzzing with thousands upon thousands of shared pronouncements of solidarity among the brotherhood and sisterhood of runners.
Many of the messages runners were sharing online were initially of distress, disbelief, and sorrow. But within a few hours, the messages turned into something powerful. From coast-to-coast, runners shared words of resolve. Of unity. Of a determination to not cower in the face of threats but to stand strong.
Across the globe, runners marked their unity the day after the Boston bombing by wearing to work and around the neighborhoods their race jerseys and finisher’s shirts from previous races. Others chose to wear purple in a public support for Boston. And large numbers of runners (nearly 26,000 at last check) vowed to run 26.2 miles this month to commemorate the Boston tragedy in a personal way.
Watching this display of solidarity and patriotism unfold has been moving. If I were not already a runner, I can imagine that experiencing this would make me consider making a running commitment. Perhaps our previous article on running had already gotten you thinking about starting a running effort. Perhaps you've been considering it for a long while. If you have been thinking about taking up running, or upping your running game to marathon races, now may be the time. With the added motivation of patriotism – of standing strong in the face of terrorism – today may be exactly the right moment to commit to a running plan.
If you’re not ready to show your solidarity and support for the people of Boston by running a marathon, chances are that you are at least ready to commit to the act of putting one foot in front of the other – even if just walking, and even if for short distances. Consider beginning the journey by showing your solidarity with the victims of Boston’s marathon bombing this very month.
You can join the run-for-Boston movement by committing to 26.2 miles in 30 days. You don't have to do it all in one effort. You can make that commitment by breaking it up in chunks. If you were to walk or run every day in the course of the next 30 days, you could complete your commitment with less than a mile a day. But a mile a day for 30 days is a terrific way to begin building a healthy habit.
So, let’s talk about getting started. How do you begin the process of going from couch potato to runner? And how do you take it from running to racing, maybe even going so far as to joining the half-million-plus individuals running a marathon each year? To find out, stay tuned for our upcoming article How to Go from Couch ‘Tater to Marathon Runner.