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Not afraid to run. Not afraid to race. Not afraid to finish.

Posted Apr 22 2013 12:00am
This finish line photo was taken last Sunday, April 14, at the Leadman Triathlon in Tempe, Arizona, the day before the Boston Marathon. I had just finished the 8.1-mile run for my relay team. Throughout my race I was celebrating good health and feeling fortunate to be there enjoying the company of good friends. My friend and cyclist Laura took this picture. My husband was standing right behind her. I never once questioned our safety. I see an innocence in this photo now. It's my last "before Boston" finish.

Going forward I will never cross another finish line without thinking about Martin Richard and his family. Because his family is my family. An active family fueled by fitness; where racing has been part of the family fabric as soon as babies enter the world (or even before they enter the world).

Our twins were on the sidelines of the Twin Cities marathon when they were six-weeks old. We have been back almost every year since, as our family grew. Sometimes our kids cheered for mom or dad or their uncle. Sometimes we were there because being at a marathon is what our family calls F.U.N. Our biggest worry was that we might lose a child in the crowd. Never did we think a child might lose a leg, or a life.

Life is different now, isn't it?

Just like that.

But it's clear to me our family won't stop racing.

Even as we began to process the horrors of what happened in Boston last week, I mailed three entries at my daughters' request for the local "Kids Marathon." Despite knowing what happened in Boston my girls anticipate race day next month.

And on Tuesday my girls were eager to join the Life Time Run Club, which requested that runners wear a race t-shirt in support of Boston, and started the run with 26 seconds of silence. Not only did they fearlessly run their "one mile marathon," as they called it, they ran with heart. When we were all finished, one of my 9-year-olds announced that she won. (I had been in the way back running with my almost 8-year-old).

"You won?" I asked incredulously. "You mean you were the first kid?"

"No," her twin sister replied. "She really won the whole thing. I was second."

This means that the rest of the run club held back--let these two little runners through. These little runners who knew a little boy their age lost his life at a finish line just the day before. They weren't scared. They knew exactly what they were doing.

Not afraid to run. Not afraid to race. Not afraid to finish.

What else can we do but follow their lead?

I won't stop running, or racing, or getting to the next finish line. But I don't think I will ever, ever do any of that again without thinking about Martin Richard and his family who are forever changed.

You can send a donation to Martin's family by mailing it to
Richard Family Fund
Meetinghouse Bank
2250 Dorchester Ave.
Dorchester, MA  02124
My friends at Another Mother Runner recommended this along with nine other ways to do something positive in a great post: 10 Ways to Support Boston .

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