If you know runners, or are a runner, you may understand that we have a solidarity among us that runs very deep. As part of the contract staff of Running USA, I have learned that one of the reasons for this is that it starts at the top. The people who produce running events and road races in this country are some of the best people there are. They are kind, compassionate, logical, smart businesspeople. They work in an industry that brings out the best in its participants. Everything they do, every decision they make, is for the runners.
Every year at the Running USA conference, Boston race director Dave McGillivray and his team from DMSE Sports, who produce the Boston Marathon for the Boston Athletic Association, are out on the course with us for our morning runs. They are one of the top race production teams in the country. Detail-oriented, exceptionally organized, cautious and competent. They take care of 20,000 runners, and hundreds of thousands of spectators, without a glitch, at a storied and historic event. It’s a monumental task, and they knock it out of the park. Since Monday, they have been working non-stop to assist in the police investigation of this unfathomable attack.
There’s a quote making the rounds via social media, which is spot on: “If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathon runners are the wrong group to target.” (Credit to David and Kelvin Bright)
I would expand that to include the running industry at large. Our sport has experienced a boom in participation that’s going on more than a decade. Huge increases in participation numbers have been recorded by our Running USA statisticians as Americans take to the roads. Those of us who have been running for our entire lives have welcomed them joyously. We would love nothing more than for everyone to be a runner, whether you jog a mile or race 26.2.
My colleague Christine Bowen, who was in Boston and thankfully uninjured in the attacks, put it this way: “We are all part of this amazing industry and I know we will all stick together and come out even stronger, but it’s going to be an emotional road.”
But if anyone can take on an emotional road, it’s the running industry, its runners and the people who love them. See you out there.
Here are a few ways to contribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon attack:
- Boston Athletic Association – http://www.baa.org/
- American Red Cross – http://www.redcross.org/
- The One Fund Boston – http://www.theonefundboston.org/
- Boston Strong – http://inktothepeople.com/marketplace/ink-detail/3731
- Boston Children’s Hospital – http://www.childrenshospital.org/
- And more grassroots ways: Go to a race and cheer on a runner. Volunteer to be a race course monitor. Tell a runner you love them. Go running. Train for Boston.
Leah Etling is Running USA's content editor and website manager.