This piece is exactly why what happened in Boston is so heartbreaking.
Running has become a safe place for me. It's more than a workout. It's a way to work through demons. To find a little peace. When that safety gets violated, I get mad.
But I'm not special. I think almost every runner would tell you they feel the same way about running. And they'd tell you that they'd keep running, no matter what.
But what really upsets me? That spectators were injured and killed. If there's something crazy about running just for the hell of it, there's something even crazier about watching a race. At least the runners stay warm, burn some calories, and earn bragging rights. Why would anyone stand around in the heat, cold, rain or blistering sun for hours, just waiting for a loved one to run by? Why would someone cheer on a complete stranger? Why would someone hand out food, water, blankets and hugs to a sweaty, delirious runner they've never met, and will never see again? Like the Jezebel piece says, if you want to find your faith in humanity, don't look at the runners. Look at the spectators, the volunteers, the friends and family waiting at the finish line.
I've never run a marathon, but I hope to run the Big Sur Half Marathon some day. But even in short races, knowing someone's waiting for me at the end makes the all the difference. Everyone who's shown up to support a runner, and all the smiling, cheering people in between who have handed out water, cheered strangers on, and picked up all of those empty cups -- they're the special ones.