I am a member of a very special club.
This club has no paid membership.
This club does not demand anything more than active participation in it's rituals on a regular basis.
It is a group that demands discipline and focus. A group that requires your heart and soul to be on guard at all times. It is a group that will celebrate your successes and help you through your failures. It is a group that will ultimately make you a better person to all concerned, ensuring that you become the best version of yourself that you can be.
This does not come naturally or easily to most. It can take months, even years to find this personae in yourself. Until you reach this state of enlightenment, you will travel many roads and paths, working on yourself, working on the essence of yourself that will bring you to this place of peace.
This club doesn't really required any special costume.
It has no passwords, handshakes or special words, other than the odd comment of encouragement or advice. A knowing smile can help others in the club at times. Just reminding somebody to slow down and breathe can make a difference. Easy stuff.
Once you've become a member of this club, you will always be a part of it, even if it's you're not participating.
For those who continue in the club, a generosity of spirit that you may not know you possessed can appear. It bands you together with people that you never thought you could bond with. It makes you akin to people who come in every size, colour and shape.
You applaud them all, for like you, they have been through the process of stripping away an old life and found a new way of being.
There is no best in this club, nor no worst. All it requires you to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
For that is the only rule of the club. Persevere.
I am a distance runner.
I, like so many others around the world, belong to the universal club of distance running.
Long may I be a distance runner.
And for as much as my heart goes out to the people of Boston at this time, to those who have lost family and friends, to those who have been directly impacted by these senseless acts, my heart especially goes out to certain members of the club.
I am especially thinking of those who have trained for months, years, to participate in their first marathon who were still on the road and would have been unable to finish. To the many, many people who would have been a kilometre or two away from the blast, halted in their quest for their own personal victory over the road.
You also think of those there cheering on their family and friends- for the blasts came when the "normal" people would be coming through - the elite runners would be sipping on a latte a few blocks away after a shower. No, at the four hour mark the Mums and Dads and office workers and charity runners are coming through. Which makes this all the more sinister.
And to those runners injured in the blast - may you always be able to run free, no matter how this running takes place in yourself.
Running is the ultimate freedom. It gives you complete ease over your body and soul, give it time.
To the wingnuts who performed this atrocity, you failed to take this into consideration.
We are runners. You can never take this freedom away.
(p.s. Reindert ran a 3.05 in the race. Not bad for an old bloke. He, Corazon and his friends are safe and well and were home by the time news of the blast filtered through. It brings a personal note to such a horrific event.)