Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the bombings during the Boston Marathon, and media coverage has taken over with stories positive, hard, sad, inspiring, uplifting. I’ve struggled to contain my emotions this week as story after story describe individuals’ lives a year after two terrorists decided not to wait any longer to launch an attack on the city and on my tribe, my family of runners.
On Monday, runners will line up again in Hopkinton, bibs pinned on, shoes laced up, ready to run toward the painted finish line on Boylston Street.
The finish line last year. It got a new coat of paint for this year’s race.
I love that this year’s race is the day after Easter, when we celebrate Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and victory over death through His resurrection. In many ways, regardless of faith, those who participate in the Boston Marathon on Monday are Easter people, too, celebrating resurrection: of a city’s pride, of a running community that would not let evil overcome it, of the human spirit that would not cave to fear and tragedy.
I’d like to offer up a prayer for all those running Boston and for all those lining the streets to cheer them on or keep them safe:
Please be with the runners at Boston this year, both those I know and those I’ll never meet. Give them strength of body and mind as they take on this challenging course. Please also be with the police and medical crews who will protect the runners. Give them patience, wisdom and discernment as they do their work. Please also be with the race organizers and volunteers. Give them the ability to provide the runners with a wonderful, renewing experience. Please also be with the spectators who will cheer for the runners as they speed by. Replace any misgivings or anger or fear with joy and unity and a sense of jubilation. And, God, please be with those who cannot be at the race but long for the courage or the speed or the healing that would enable them to attend.
Please send comfort to those who mourn a loss of life or limb and with those who are trying to navigate a “new” normal. Please heal both the physical and emotional wounds of those traumatized by last year’s events.
Please cover the entire course with Your protection, and turn away all who are intent on causing terror or spreading evil and chaos.
I especially lift up the Hoyts to You, as they make their final Boston Marathon run together. May it be an occasion of joy and blessing for them after so many years of showing what a father’s love can mean in the life of a disabled son. I also lift up Scott Menzies and the other family and friends running in memory of Scott’s wife Meg. Please let them sense Your healing presence as they race where she had hoped to run. Please let the memorial for her near the 1-mile mark remind all who pass by to treasure their time here, to delight in life and to be kind to one another (and maybe also not to drive drunk or distracted).
Please send a gentle breeze – and if it’s in Your will, please let it be a tailwind, however rare for this marathon – and a perfect temperature for running. Please energize tired legs and mend broken hearts even as runners climb Heartbreak Hill.
Please, most of all, let good triumph on Monday. It is in Your son Jesus’ name that I make this prayer. Amen.
If you have family or friends (runners or spectators) heading to Boston and would like for me to pray for them by name on Monday during the race, it would be my privilege to do that for you. Please feel free to leave names and prayer requests in the comment section below.
For now, I’ll leave you with this Boston Marathon story featuring the Hoyts, an inspiring father-and-son duo who will run their final Boston Marathon together on Monday.