Boston

This is Portland Fit Red Coach Dave running down Boylston Street as he finishes the 2013 Boston Marathon. It’s a beautiful picture of an elite athlete walking on air. But now I’m drawn to those other faces in the picture. The ones waiting for their friends and family to finish. Those faces are an hour away from tragedy.

Dave finished in 2 hours and 34 minutes. That means he was done over an hour before the bombs went off. But it’s not hard to imagine those spectators arriving early, waiting for their friends and family that were expected later. They were off work because Marathon Monday is a local holiday — Patriots’ Day. It commemorates the Battle of Lexington. Now it will remind us of the Battle of Boylston Street.

Our sport is about endurance. But it seems lately that we’re having to endure more than just blisters and cramps. The New York Marathon was cancelled due to Super Storm Sandy. And only a fortunate few were able to complete Boston before disaster struck. One of Portland Fit’s messages to members is about preparation and control — you can prepare all you want, but there are some things outside of our control. The weather may be terrible. There may be an unexpected delay at a train crossing. If you want to PR (or even finish), there are just some things that are going to get in your way. But what happened in Boston was unimaginable.

A marathon is our chance to celebrate the months of training that brought us to the starting line. By having to qualify to participate, the Boston Marathon is perhaps the greatest celebration as it can require years to achieve. Today doesn’t feel like much of a celebration. I’m glad we have this picture from Boston 2013. It’s a thing of beauty. But I’ll always wonder if everyone in this picture is OK.

If you’ve never seen a marathon finish, it’s wonderful. There are thousands of fans cheering on the finishers as they achieve something that less than 1% of the population works to accomplish. You instantly become absorbed in the moment and you can feel the positive energy from the participants and the spectators. Today, those wonderful spectators that give so much to our sport were the most affected by the tragedy. They were the ones standing by when the bombs went off. It hurts just thinking about how all that positive energy can instantly change into a horrific scene.

In 1845, Portland was a coin flip away from instead being named Boston, Oregon. Today’s tragedy makes Portland’s heart ache for our sister city. We’re all Bostonians today.