I don't run marathons. I can run a mile or two, on a good day, without stopping. My sister runs marathons. She spends her free time running 10-milers, running a quick five at North Park after working all day, or waking up early on Saturdays trying to beat her own half-marathon record. Listening to her talk about her experiences motivates the most sedentary person. She started off as a sedentary person herself.
My sister tells me that it doesn't matter how much you run, but that the act itself makes you a runner. Those incredible individuals who run 26.2 miles are part of a family. They are bonded by the ability to do something that a large amount of people cannot do. To these people, they don't care how far you run. If you run, you are part of the family.
I don't run marathons. But I'm a runner. I'm part of a "family" that has no blood relation. What binds us is a sport. This week, many members of my family died or were injured. I sit here, having no personal connection to anyone participating in the Boston Marathon, and feel traumatically affected.
Distance is a barrier in assisting with recovery efforts. For now, the only thing I can do is continue to support my sister and the rest of my "family." Sometimes love and support are the only things you can do. But I will do just that. Because I am a runner. And this is my family.