Keep Running for Peace and Light Boston

Explosion_at_Bosto_2537124bThe tragic events in Boston have deeply affected me. I understand many of you are not runners and yet it is shocking to you as well.

Here is the thing that bothers me most. Running is a peaceful non contact sport for individuals and FAMILIES.

The Boston Marathon is like the Superbowl, Stanley Cup Final, The World Series, The Masters of the marathon circuit. It is the race the distance runners dream of because you just can’t enter. You have to earn it.

Boston Marathon
Qualifying Standards

(effective for 2013 race)
Age Men Women
18–34 3hrs 5min 3 hrs 35min
35–39 3hrs 10min 3 hrs 40min
40–44 3hrs 15min 3 hrs 45min
45–49 3hrs 25min 3 hrs 55min
50–54 3hrs 30min 4 hrs 0min
55–59 3hrs 40min 4 hrs 10min
60–64 3hrs 55min 4 hrs 25min
65–69 4hrs 10min 4 hrs 40min
70–74 4hrs 25min 4 hrs 55min
75–79 4hrs 40min 5 hrs 10min
80+ 4hrs 55min 5 hrs 25min

If you are 80 and older you have to run 26.2 miles or 42.195km in 4 hours and 55 minutes for men and 5 hours and 25 minutes for women.

Think about that. I am half that age and I hope to finish my first marathon in under 7 hours. Boston is a big deal. People my age are finishing that distance it what it takes me to finish HALF that distance. Sure I am slow, sure I am new to this sport but that speed is amazing.

So lets talk about how far 26.2 miles is. Let’s say you wish to start at the southeast corner of Edmonton by my neighborhood. I will come to the start line with you at 17st and Whitemud freeway. I will wish you luck, ring the cowbell, and begin worrying about you as you run west.

You will keep on the Whitemud until you get to the Anthony Henday and head north towards Hwy 16. Then head west because you are not finished yet, until you get to a new City called Spruce Grove. Don’t think you are done yet, do you? Because you are not. Run past Century road until you get to King Street. Just past King is where you can stop. This is only a half a kilometer away from Calihoo Road. Now RUN that in the corresponding time from your age group listed above.


The big question is, why do people do this? Well, it isn’t for prizes or cash or fame and fortune, it is to see what you are made of. It is as simple as that. When you train to be a distance runner, you train yourself to handle pain. We need to be clear, it hurts and it hurts regularly. Distance runners need mind control and focus. You need to be okay with being alone with your thoughts. You need to be proficient at clearing negative thoughts during your run or the wheels fall off pretty fast.

This is just what the runner goes through on race day. There are weeks and weeks of training, miles and miles put on those shoes. Those shoes wear out around 400 miles so have plenty on hand. The runner sits in ice baths after a run to reduce swelling, they eat while training to maintain energy, puke when they have pushed too far, lose toenails and fill their shoes with blood. None of these are pleasant side effects.

So why do it?

You sleep great. You breath deeper than you can possibly imagine. Your body craves running. You glow. You clear your head. You think of great things. You can plan and work out any problem. There is solidarity in running. The running community is something you have never experienced before. Someone falls, the next person along helps them finish even though it slows their own personal time. We work together to finish. We are a global team.

So why does the Boston tragedy hurt so much? Because runners and their families are a peaceful community. No one gets boos, everyone gets cheered for. The last person over the finish line is treated like a rockstar, just like the first person over the line. It isn’t a race for the win, it is a race to the finish.

Runners are a non political force. We share our space, our support and our water, protein and gels.

The question remains, WHY?

We all will speculate forever but it doesn’t change the fact that 23336 people crossed the start line. 17580 crossed the finish line. That means 5756 people didn’t finish. 5756 people didn’t complete their dream of finishing the Boston Marathon. 5756 people’s families were waiting to hear how it went, waited at the finished line, or just waited to hear a phone call that wouldn’t come.

I think about my team mates who were in Boston and who thankfully are fine. I think about how peaceful races are now forever changes. I think about my children waiting for me at the finish line and how little  Martin Richard age 8 was waiting for his dad to cross the finish line and his family will never be the same.

As a running community, I smiled when I heard the finishers ran to donate blood.

I am joining them.

If you are Canadian you go to Canadian Blood Services and fill out the info online and they will contact you. It’s simple, you save a life or 3 and you get a cookie. I’m donating blood because I am a runner and who knows, one of us may need it one day.

Peace Boston.


12 thoughts on “Keep Running for Peace and Light Boston

  1. So wonderful Robyn. You really captured what running feels like for us, for our supporters, and how it is really a community who, without judgement or scorn, cheers eachother on to our own personal victories. Who support us through our failures and tribulations along the way. I have no words for what happened in Boston. I’m tired of these continued acts of violence. But you have helped me to remember why it is important to still care and react by doing something constructive . xo

  2. Thoughtful post my dear. It’s horrifying to think ANYWHERE is still dangerous. I will pray for the Martin family, that is so so sad because my son is about the same age. There were several runners from central TX at the marathon, too.

  3. As a Bostonian and someone who works a few blocks from the scene, It was a scary thought just to hear what had happened. I did not once think it could happen here, especially along that iconic street where every shop and all the people here are so peaceful and quiet. Truly a sad sad day for us, but this post is a great way of saying what a marathon means to someone. I love Boston.

  4. Hi Robyn did I tell you that my dad ran in the Hamilton race around the bay he ran with tom long boat who was a famous runner we use to watch take of cheering him on I don’t remember how many miles it was but it was a lot gram

  5. Thank you. Thank you for putting into words how I have been feeling since this happened. I have been overwhelmed and trying to process this since it is so close to home (I live in Massachusetts) and as I prepare for my first marathon in a couple of weeks. Your thoughts are a true reflection of how I feel and I am so glad to be apart of this wonderful running community. It will mean so much more to complete my race and doing it for all those who did not get to finish in Boston as well as those who were hurt or killed. Thanks so much!

    1. This is beyond sad for me. I am trying to run 26.2 miles this week. Its harder when you’re sad. I’ll be cheering for you in your first marathon! Run like the wind and stay united with our community 🙂

  6. When I heard about the Boston Marathon my thoughts went back to waiting for you at the finish line on your first marathon. I just would’ve never thought in a million years that this could ever happen or that some sick person would even think of doing something so heinous My thoughts and prayers go out to all the marathoners, families, friends who were there. This will change my perspective of a marathon forever.

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