This post was originally published on Facebook the day after the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. Some of the facts (like additional undetonated bombs) turned out to prove false, and some (like me running in 2014) turned out to be true. The sentiment remains intact as ever.

On the Boston Marathon Bombing of 2013:

Hi Everyone,

Now that the dust has settled and the debris is being cleaned up, and my brain is beginning to clear up, I wanted to reach out to all of you. 

Let me start by thanking you all for checking in on me and worrying about my safety and the safety of my friends and family. As you know, I did not run Boston this year, but spent much of the day on the course, running four different friends up Heartbreak Hill, and was planning on running one all the way to the finish line. We got stopped at a medical tent at mile 21, where we frantically, and ultimately successfully, tried to locate her family awaiting her at the end. Thankfully, all of the runners I know were unharmed — though many were stopped at 25+ miles, just around the corner from the explosions — and we are still waiting for the health care status of some of their supporters who weren’t so lucky, those supporters at the finish line jumping out of their skin with excitement for the impending finishes. It is a frightening day, now that the confusion has ended and the reality of the health care situation has set in.

For those of you who don’t know, the Boston Marathon isn’t just a big race. It’s THE race, bringing an international field of the world’s most elite runners, and thousands of others who worked for years to qualify to be fast enough to run this most celebrated of distance races.

And, then there are a couple thousand charity runners, the poor schlubs like me who could never qualify fast enough, but who raise $5K+ for amazing local nonprofits so that we can be part of this incredible experience. And, it happens on Patriots Day, which isn’t just like MLK day or Presidents’ Day or some other “I think we get the day off school because some old guy is dead” day. It’s Boston’s annual spring awakening, its coming out party. It’s the day that the Blue Angels fly over the Red Sox game that starts as the elite runners leave Hopkinton. It’s the day that Boston wakes from it’s annual winter slumber. It’s the best day of the year in Boston, bar none, and I can’t find another day comparable anywhere else I’ve ever lived.

Running a sub-four hour race is a dream of many of us, and for those in the third wave (where they put the charity teams), the bombs went off at what would have been about a 3:51 and 3:52 finish time. Had I chosen to run this year, I would have been aiming to finish almost to the minute of this time, a fact not lost on everyone who was sitting in the bleachers (where they found two additional undetonated bombs) for last year’s finish. That is something I can’t think about for very long without completely breaking down.

Boston MarathonLike me, so many runners I know are feeling horrible guilt today at putting so many family and friends in harm’s way. The team from College Bound Dorchester had space in the Charlesmark Hotel for all of their staff and board to gather. The first bomb went off just in front of the lobby. College Bound had four runners in the race. One finished and was walking from the finish line to the medal dispensary just as the first bomb went off. Another got a leg cramp and was approaching the finish line a few minutes slower than she had wanted, and was stopped just before the end. The other two runners were stopped at miles 22 and 25, and could not be located (along with Mark Culliton, CEO, who was running one in) for at least an hour. As someone who had talked College Bound into getting charity bibs, and who talked two of these runners into racing, I was beside myself with guilt and horror and worry.

The runners are also feeling terrible sadness for being robbed of an opportunity of a lifetime by a senseless and cowardly act of violence. On the one hand, all they care about are the people who were hurt. But on the other hand, their melancholy will grow about having their hopes and dreams dashed. I feel for these runners because they can’t adequate grieve the experience while they and the city grieve its lost and pray for its injured. The runner I was with was actually yelled at by a volunteer because she didn’t leave the course within seconds of being told — at the top of heartbreak hill, 21 miles in, after running for more than four hours, with nothing but downhill to go — that her race and her dreams were over. If she hadn’t been crumpled over in between us, I might have taken a swing at him; though all of you who know me well know that I certainly took a verbal swing, or three.

And yet, yesterday isn’t about them or me. It’s about the heroes who unfathomably ran into the smoke through confusion that some first responders called war-zone like. It’s about the people who were killed and had multiple limbs amputated only because they were full of love for the runners — the mothers, the fathers, the children — they came to cheer. And, it’s about this city’s spirit and the spirit of all who will come together in 2014 to run from Hopkinton to Boston in a display of pride and community that will shatter any expectations. I know I will be among them, and I hope to see you all along the route.

Now, go find a neighbor, a friend, a colleague, a runner, and hug them ’til you can’t hug ’em no more.

That’s my plan. Look out!