I can say that because I am one.
Because I know there’s no one quite like us – willing to run for miles even though no one is chasing us.
Running for no reason other than the thrill of it, for the challenge, the glory.
Running for the high that comes with accomplishing something you weren’t quite sure you could do when you woke up on race morning.
Running for the magic that comes with being part of a community that lifts you up when your knees sound like pop rocks, and you’re not sure you can make it to the next mile marker.
Running for the sense of community that comes with hi-fiving spectators standing on the sidelines cheering like they know you. Even when they don’t.
On Monday, when attacks on the Boston Marathon caused catastrophic damage, every runDisney runner I know – and a lot that I don’t – took to social media networks to offer support, encouragement, prayers and strength to the people of Boston.
For the people who plan themed outfits months before a race.
For the the people who show up with noisemakers and entire school marching bands and handmade posters that make you laugh through the burning hip pain because they say things like: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS ISN’T THE 3:00 PARADE?” and “WE DON’T KNOW YOU, BUT WE BELIEVE IN YOU!” and “EACH OF YOU IS A BEAUTY WHO RUNS LIKE A BEAST!” and “YOU’RE HALFWAY THERE!” with a second sign saying “BAD AT MATH!”
Because that’s how runners – and the people who cheer them on – roll.
We don’t quit.
No one can knock us down, because we always lift each other back up.
I ran my first 5k, 8k and 15k’s in Chicago, screamed at the top of my lungs for a friend at the 2011 Chicago Marathon, and ran the Walt Disney World half marathons in 2012 and 2013, learning firsthand how solid the connection between runner and spectator can be. It’s what carries us across the finish line.
So, to that person out there who thought bombing Boston would break us?
This isn’t over.
To paraphrase Hercules, “We will find our way. We will go the distance.”