Stacey Margaret Jones: Running For Boston

Running For Boston

Stacey Margaret Jones Bio Page
After the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, April 15, I felt as many Americans did: afraid, deeply saddened, troubled and psychologically off balance. As a runner, I had other feelings of horror, having been at marathon finish lines before, and I was absolutely devastated for the lives lost and the injuries endured not only by the runners, but also by the supporters and fans who make the marathon experience meaningful for all of us who train for months to cross that finish line.

I was restless and uneasy. I wanted to stand with the runners, the fans, the families and the city of Boston somehow. Alone in my living room, consuming all the media reportage I was left frazzled and alone.

Then I saw a Facebook event, Run 26.2 for Boston, and I joined it, thankful for an opportunity to run with Boston, no matter where I am. As of this writing, the event has more than 24,000 participants, with runners, walkers and even nonrunners posting daily photos of their outings and their progress to meet this mileage goal where they are, in their own time. In Little Rock, runners are getting together and raising money for Boston’s recovery during their group outings.

Since last Wednesday, I’ve run 18.7 miles on my own. I’ve run in Two Rivers Park and on the River Trail, in my neighborhood and on the treadmill. It’s the most I’ve run since the marathon, and it’s one of the first times in my life I’ve run consistently without a training program to follow.

I’m not taking pledges, or joining with others. And I’ve had some questions about how this makes any difference to anyone but me. Indeed, how does it really make anything better?

I’ve considered the answer to this during my miles. Certainly it does soothe my tattered emotions when it comes to the grief I felt about the destruction of something so good and so joyous. As I posted on my own Facebook page that day, the finish line of a marathon is one of the happiest places I’ve ever been in my life. To shatter it with death, pain, blood and fear is truly vile. And the loss of that happy place is one runners grieve profoundly. How can my feeling a little better be meaningful in the face of all that?

During my 18.7 miles of Running For Boston, I’ve come to a conclusion: These purposeful, considered miles are this runner’s prayer. It is a meditation that is marathon-specific, and it is an action in this world that the bombing will not shape the future of marathoning.

Thousands and thousands of runners worldwide are also putting one foot in front of the other in their meditations, thoughts and prayers. And in the miles they run, they are bringing those prayers to fruition, laying the groundwork to go out, to run, to race, to cheer, to volunteer, to stand at the finish line of countless marathons worldwide.

We run to resuscitate the happiest place we’ve known on this earth, to bring it back to its full and joyous life at a finish line near you.

Stacey Margaret Jones, M.S., APR, (@sharkushka) is a market research consultant and a member of the inaugural class of the Arkansas Writers MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas. She lives in Conway with her Chaucerian husband. Jones, a South Dakota native, does not play team sports, unless you consider cocktailing a competitive event.

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