Why I'm Running the Boston Marathon

Apr 15, 2014 Tina Cassidy

Editor’s Note: This week, we dedicate the InkHouse blog to the Boston Marathon. All of our hearts were broken last year, and we’re so very proud that our own Tina Cassidy is running for the MR8 team to raise money for the foundation started by the Richard family, a family that lost so much. Tina shares her beautiful story about why she is running below. Our design team created the “Boston 4-21-14” image for anyone to use. We hope you’ll help spread the message of healing and resilience. #WeRunTogether

Why I'm Running the Boston Marathon

Below is Tina's post:

Why am I running the Boston Marathon?  There’s a simple answer, a clear one, which is: I am running to celebrate the life of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old who died at the finish line last year, and whose sister lost a leg in the bombings. With three kids of my own, how could I not feel privileged to be a member of the inaugural TeamMR8, comprised of 100 runners from across the nation who are raising funds for the charitable foundation Martin’s parents established in order to promote peace, retrofit playgrounds for children with disabilities and support youth athletic programs.

But there’s a story behind the story. Since I was a child of Martin’s age, I’ve had an amputee in my family, and have never taken my two legs for granted, or my eyesight, or hearing, or any ability I was born with.

Years later, on Sept. 11, 2001, as a journalist working in New York City, I was running into the World Trade Center to report on what was happening when the first tower started to collapse. I turned on my high heels (dressed for other assignments that morning) and ran. In that primal moment, my mental dialog consisted of numerous trite, absurdities, all byproducts of shock, among them: Legs, don’t fail me now; and oh great, the headline of my obituary will read ‘Fashion Victim.’

Since that awful day in New York, when blue skies seemed to turn dark forever, I’ve been on a personal quest to understand the kind of hate that I could never fathom and, thankfully, have never felt toward others, and more importantly, to embrace peace and understanding.

Which brings us to last year’s Boston Marathon.

As tragedy unfolded at the finish line, I was home alone with my kids, trying to shield them from the news. During the lockdown, our boys asked many questions that I could not answer – questions I had been asking myself since 9/11. Questions like, why would anyone want to hurt another person?

And then the Richard family, still recovering, did the most amazing thing that will keep them tied to the marathon every year. They hand-picked a group of runners, people who would agree to be ambassadors of a little boy’s message of “No More Hurting People – Peace,” a concept that also honors everyone else who was injured or killed last year, and in my mind on 9/11, too, and sadly, by gun violence somewhere almost every day on a street corner, school, movie theater, or military base. To have this opportunity felt like fate.

Since TeamMR8 began training in late January, the Richards have been out there on the race course during weekend long runs, feeding us bagels and slaking our thirst and asking us how we are doing.

“We are fine. How are you doing?”

While we’re out there running, we thank the Richards for everything. We thank the firefighters at their stations and the police officers flagging traffic, and silently offer our gratitude to our families for understanding why we’re out here four hours at a time, and for our children, offering the loose contents of their piggy banks so that they, too, can be a part of something bigger than them, and our colleagues and friends, for waving their financial and spiritual support at every turn – especially those last two: right on Hereford, left on Boylston.

But the main thing is, we’re running toward something – not away -- and for this, I’d run even more than 26.2 miles, in heels, if it would make a difference.

Topics: InkHouse
Tina Cassidy

Tina is executive vice president and chief content officer at InkHouse. She is a former journalist, the author of three books, and mom of three boys and a dog named Dusty.

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