Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston strong. Halifax strong. Memorial run, Halifax Point Pleasant Park, April 22, 2013

Before heading to last night's memorial run, I had a Twitter exchange with a fellow Halifax runner who felt unsure whether he was going to attend, because he felt like the attack was not one on runners, and therefore felt mixed about the theme of "Runners grieve by running."

I responded that to me, last night's run was about solidarity for those - runners or not - who had lost their lives or had been affected by the tragedy, even the city of Boston itself as it struggles to recover from the horror that was wrought on it.

I was heartened to see the hundreds of runners of all ages and abilities at last night's Boston memorial run. It was amazing to see how many of Halifax's runners were there wearing Boston jackets, Boston Red Sox jerseys or blue and yellow. The bond between our cities was apparent. You could sense how each of us had been struck by the tragedies in Boston last week - and the determination that we'd keep running together.

As we waited in the brisk wind off the ocean for the organizers to speak, I could hear runners around me reliving their Boston experience last week. It was still so fresh and raw for many of them, just seven days after the event.

I was moved as our queue of several hundred crunched slowly off at the starting point, making our way around the park. This was not about speed or time, as the organizers reminded us. It was about solidarity and togetherness.

So we took off together, each of us running at our own pace for 15 minutes, and then turning around and running back to the start.

When we reached the starting point and started trickling back in, our group of several hundred strong milled around - many of us giving hugs to those runners safely returned. This was not just about what happened in Boston - it was about what had happened in our own community, as we watched in horror and hoped and prayed that all those who we knew were safe and sound. I was glad to have been a part of it.

Thank you to the organizers for pulling together such a meaningful event.

Boston strong. Halifax strong.

~ HRG

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