My running pals will attest to the fact that the mind becomes pretty singularly focused at mile 26 on marathon day. To say that I’m a man of few words at that point is being frivolous. I’m a man of about 2 thoughts. Food, drink, stop, ouch, and ultimately warm. ok, 5 thoughts….
When it happened last year, we were a chaotic lot. What sticks with me still, after all the chaos; the single lasting impression was the selflessness of complete strangers. I wish I could name/contact them all. The sweet older women who fussed over me to make sure the metallic cape another runner had given me stayed in place. The guy walking back from the finish with the backpack who’d seen human body parts strewn about Boylston St. who stopped to ask me if I was alright. If I needed anything. I mean how does one get over seeing what he saw? Three of these samaritans, I can name – Jani, Lauren, and Chris – literally gave me the shirt off their back, along with water, chips, etc. I then had the chance to pass those sweat/shirts to Mary who I found shivering/wandering at the corner of Boylston/Mass Ave. a bit later.
We reconnected by email today. Chris told me he still has the emails in his inbox from last year, and I found out that Lauren is running on Monday and hopefully can make a pit stop at our mile 14 party.
I’m not sure if it’s lost on the worst of humanity, or not, that their actions seem, time and time again, to bring out the best in us.
Alone we are rare. Together we are strong.