This isn’t the blog I planned to write this week. In fact, it’s not a blog I planned to write at all.
Yesterday I went to the movie, Patriots Day. Those of you who don’t want to read this full blog, I’ll give you the fast review: It’s a very well-done movie and I would recommend seeing, especially in the theater.
If this movie had been nothing more than a cinematic adventure, not based on actual events, it would have been entertaining; a film that creates within the viewer a mix of suspenseful, terrifying, and uplifting feelings.
But we all know this wasn’t just a movie. It happened.
Less than four years ago, it happened.
On a city’s holiday, it happened.
At one of the greatest sporting events in history, it happened.
I knew this. I assumed, as a runner and one fortunate enough to have run the Boston Marathon, the movie would have special significance to me. But I didn’t realize the full impact of the event, outside of the running bubble; I didn’t’ realize how much of the story I didn’t know.
The drama that surrounded the manhunt and capture of the Boston Marathon bombers was much more elaborate, dramatic, and horrifying than I remembered. Part of the reason was the fact I was in Wichita when it happened, working long days, outside, with limited access to TV, social media, and news in general. Or maybe part of that was a lot of the details weren’t made public.
Either way, seeing Patriots Day affected me more than most movies ever have, as more than a runner.
Of course, as a runner, I was saddened and furious anyone would take away the joy, pride, and achievement that comes with running a marathon.
As a human, I was sickened and pissed off anyone would carry out these deliberate acts of violence against other humans.
And as a person instilled with the value to always be kind to others, I was confused and disgusted by how the bombers seemed so aloof and unaffected by their behavior. I mean, they argued over who “got” to shoot the gun and who got first dibs to drive the carjacked vehicle the way my brothers and I argued over who got first dibs to lick the spoon after making brownies.
As much as the movie affected the human and even runner side of me, it strongly affected the Boston Marathon runner side of me. Yet, for that, I have no words.
I felt so many emotions during the race scenes of the movie. The start line at Hopkinton, the smiling faces of other runners, the famous blue and yellow finish line banners, the mile 25 stretch past Fenway Park, and the final chute down Boylston Street. It brought back so many wonderful memories for me. Happy, pride-filled memories that quickly turned to emotions of anger and fury when the scene switched to the bombers, plotting and carrying out their act.
It also brought back other memories. Seeing armed guards on a building roof outside the start line. Hearing Chris had to go through numerous security checkpoints to get from our hotel, near mile 23, to see me run by at mile 25, to finding me at the finish line. Thinking about, how I finished the race around 2:40 the afternoon I ran and finding out the bombs went off just before 3:00 the day it actually happened. That especially I couldn’t stop thinking about.
As much as the violence was directed at the marathon’s runners, volunteers, and spectators, the actual race was a relatively small part of the full story. The hunt for the bombers went on for days after Patriots Day, during which time they incited more fear and horror. This was the part that I didn’t know much about up until seeing the movie and why I’m glad the story is out there for people to know; I’m glad to know.
Seeing Patriots Day, I also learned more about the meaning behind Boston Strong. The movie really hit on how Boston and its neighboring cities came together and supported each other in the aftermath of the attacks.
Knowing what everyone went through is one thing; “seeing” it (and I know it was just a movie but I feel like it was a very good representation of what actually happened) was powerful.
It makes every volunteer, every spectator, and every “Boston Strong” sign I encountered on race day more significant. I never thought my gratitude for experiencing the race and the city on Patriots Day could be greater. But it is now.
Have you seen Patriots Day? How did it make you feel – not just runners, I’m asking all of you. Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.