I’ve gone back and forth all week about whether I was going to write anything about what happened at the Boston Marathon this week. I’m sure I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said. I’m also sure that there are plenty of people who will have said it much better, but I decided tonight that I’d thought about it enough to warrant posting something.

This tragedy hit home for me in a few different ways. I know that there are people who experience these types of things every year, every month, maybe even every week. I’m fortunate enough to live in a country where this isn’t my reality. For this, I am truly grateful.

Boston is a wonderful city. My roommate and I did a road trip after I graduated from the University of McGill and one of the stops was Boston. I have nothing but fond memories of the city and its people. My thoughts and prayers go out to them, their families, and their friends.

As a runner, I was shaken by the news on Monday. Boston is an iconic event. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who endeavour to run it. I’ve qualified for Boston in my dreams although I have no intentions of ever running a Marathon in reality. For me, it’s the marathon. The one I’d love to run if I ever managed to qualify for it.

I can only imagine how awful it must have been for those who were there. I’ve run enough half marathons to know that the last mile is usually the most painful. By that point, I’m just trying to keep moving forward. Imagine getting turned away after having run 41 km of the Boston Marathon – to not officially finish the race. In my mind, those people are all finishers. And the ones who continued on to give blood at a nearby hospital are incredible heroes. I am in awe of their strength.

Even more terrifying is imagining coming down the home stretch as an explosion goes off. Or watching for your husband, wife, father, mother to finish the race and instead finding yourself in the midst of a fatal attack.

I’ve always associated running with the feeling of freedom. When I abandon it, it’s always willing to accept me back. It doesn’t judge me. It doesn’t cost me anything. It gives me time to unplug. Running gives me so much. And being a runner means being part of a community – a wonderful, welcoming, friendly community.  It’s one of the most inclusive clubs I’ve ever belonged to – it doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, if you run barefoot or with orthotics. All that matters is that you’re doing it.

And that might just be the worst part about this tragedy. I don’t want tragedy to taint Boston, or even worse, running in general.

Wednesday at lunch, I laced up my shoes and went for a short run by the river. There was nothing spectacular about it aside from the fact that I got out and did it. I hope that others continue to do the same. I love running and I hope to never have someone try to take it away from me.