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We’re All Runners

We’re All Runners

Following one of my first track practices as a
high school
runner, my coach passed out tiny red and pink stickers in
the shape of hearts
to everyone on our team. 

“Being a runner takes a lot of heart,” I remember
him
saying. 

Those words couldn’t have rung more true for me
yesterday as
the events at the Boston Marathon unfolded.

There’s something about runners that makes us a
special
group. Pounding pavement day after day may seem methodical
to some, but runners
know the beauty that comes along with the pain. When that
finish line is in front
of you, a burst of power, strength and pure joy comes from
within.

So to see the iconic Boston finish line explode
over and
over on the news last night left me both awestruck and
devastated at the same
time. We’re just starting to hear the stories of exhausted
runners who raced to
help anyway they could, including running straight to the
hospital to give
blood and those who opened their doors for those who didn’t
have a place to
stay.

After all the shock of yesterday, that part didn’t
surprise
me. Running may be an individual sport, but everyone knows
it’s really a team
effort. It’s the relationships and instant bonds that form
over the course of
26.2 miles that can pull you through the worst side aches,
blisters and even
over an invisible wall.

Sandy may have canceled the ING New York City last
year, but
even a hurricane couldn’t stop over 1,300 individuals who
made their way to
Staten Island with backpacks and garbage bags full of
supplies. Just another
example of a group of runners putting aside their own
ambitions and pulling
together to help in anyway they could.

 I’ll be on lookout for heart stickers today,
because as a
volunteer for the wonderful organization Girls
on the Run
, I want to pass on the tradition to the
next generation of
runners at practice tomorrow. It’s my turn to explain that
you can put a
hurricane in the way or plant a bomb at the finish line, but
you’ll never take
away a runner’s heart.
‰ÛÓJane Wolkowicz

Jane Wolkowicz is a
freelance writer/editor in the Washington, D.C. area. She
is a longtime running
enthusiast and marathon runner. She volunteers with Girls
of the Run of
Montgomery County and dreams of completing the Boston
Marathon some day.

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