When I heard about Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed by one of the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon, the first thought that crossed my mind was that he may have been there to cheer on one of his parents.
As it turned out, that’s exactly why Martin and his family (his mother and sister were gravely injured by the blast, but survived) were there – they were waiting to cheer his dad across the finish line.
This struck a chord with me because of my joyful experiences cheering and being cheered across a finish line over the past several years. It was hard to imagine such a happy milestone turning to horror as theirs did.
In the spirit of counting blessings and honoring the importance of finish line reunions (which we can take for granted most of the time, thankfully), and in honor of the Richard family, I wanted to share two short stories-via-snapshots of the two joyful finish line moments I shared with my daughter not long ago.
Finish Line 1 [aka, ‘You can teach a middle-aged dog new tricks’]
Early one Saturday morning in November 2010, my daughter and I headed across town so I could check a huge item off of my Life Ambition List: Making my status as a “real”/bonafide runner official. (For me, this meant being someone who actually enjoys running, does it regularly and can run well enough to sign up/run races).
Since August, I had been slogging, sometimes painfully, through a great 5K training program called No Boundaries (you can try it, too; Fleet Feet Raleigh and New Balance offer it several times a year). I couldn’t believe I made it through the whole program without my lungs exploding – or without quitting. That morning, my fellow trainees and I would cap off our many training runs by running a race together: A charity 5K raising money for lung cancer research.
Here is the story through my then-9-year-old daughter’s eyes as she chronicled my first 5K:
Finish Line 2: My ‘Girl on the Run’
Several months later in April 2011, the tables were turned, and it was my daughter’s turn to run her first 5K as the culmination of an amazing, inspiring program called Girls on the Run (please take a minute and read more about GOTR here). Her dad was her running partner that day, and I was the photographer and cheerleader.