As public as it now is, the Boston Marathon bombing was again one of the most heinous incidents in recent memory; but it also hit close to home for me, now back from a Costa Rica vacation in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
To be quite honest, the latest that I have read up on is that someone has been arrested because of surveillance cameras capturing footage on the street during the bombing (I work for a mobile surveillance company, and understand the benefits of digital recording in 2013). Other than that, I have seen online articles/news reports with pictures of people being injured, the top 10 acts of kindness during the tragedy, and what hit me the very most was the 8 year old child in the crowd to watch his parent run the race being killed, and a 29 year old losing their life. My daughter is 8 days away from being 6. I run races. I am 27. It just makes me feel connected, and absolutely heartfelt for those going through losses and injuries. It is sickening.
However, at the forefront of my thoughts towards the Boston Marathon bombing is one special lady in my life; my wonderful mother-in-law, Kathryn O’Grady. Kathryn started running in her mid-40s. Before then she raised 2 sons, started work again when they were young boys, and became an utterly supportive grandmother at age 49. She began racing, and quickly started marathons; the rest is now history at age 55. I’ve had the privilege to run a few races with Kathryn (the Vancouver Turkey Trot 10 km for 2 years, and the Pitt Meadows 8 km Canada Day Run). Each race that I have participated in with her throughout the 4 years of being in her life, she has come in 1st place in her age category. However, those races are not even comparable to the marathon runs in which she continuously dominates and seems to get more young, energetic, passionate, and positive with age. It’s hard for me to think of her getting “old,” because she has such a young spirit. She is a warrior.
Kathryn has run the Boston Marathon three times. A couple of her running partners and her decided not to run this year. A few weeks ago, Kathryn said to me, “Boston’s coming up… I’m not going.” My sister-in-law said, “Yeah, but your running partner isn’t going either right?” “Yes, a few of us aren’t this year, but still…” said Kathryn. I knew she was disappointed not to go this year.
I was at the office on Monday. I walked into the lunchroom where CNN is always playing. I saw footage of smoke, runners, and I saw the headline that the Boston Marathon had been bombed. I immediately texted Kathryn the news.
I went to dinner at Kathryn and my father-in-law’s on Tuesday. Mike told me that he thought I was the first to tell Kathryn the news. Mike isn’t much for divulging into his feelings, but he said, “Kathryn would have been past the finish line at that point, as she normally finishes at 3 hours, …minutes.” Mike videotapes almost every single one of Kathryn’s races. His subtle commentary while he records (saying things like, “Good job Kak, you’re doing good”) may not seem like much to a stranger, but it’s love at its very finest. He is a precise person, and he knew what time she would have crossed the line, and that she would have been okay. It made my heart melt.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I’m so grateful that Kathryn didn’t run that race. I think Tuesday was the happiest I’ve been to see her beautiful smile and positive face. I think we all felt it, though we may not have said it.
Sunday I am running the Vancouver Sun Run. This Monday, the registration for the Sun Run doubled from the same date last year, in support for the Boston Marathon tragedy. My company, Seon, has decided to pin blue and yellow ribbons to our t-shirts in support of Boston (care of an incredibly thoughtful friend of mine).
I’ve never been to the city, but right now, it feels rather close to home.
My deepest condolences go out to Boston, and the hurt and losses because of the bombing. On Sunday, I run for them.
– Tia D. O’Grady