Meb Keflezighi tweeted this photo Monday during the Boston Marathon, and it brought me to tears. Two runners, sacrificing their own finish time to help a stranger, perfectly exemplifies the depth of selflessness and character that so many runners possess.
Running is often a solitary sport. Goals are individual. The pressure to perform well rests solely on one’s own shoulders.
Until you run a marathon, that is.
During a marathon, you are one of many hundreds or thousands of runners striving to gut out 26.2 miles in an attempt to cross a single line that records your painfully heroic effort to become a marathoner. The race is a personal struggle of will over reason, and yet, you are never alone.
I can’t imagine the suffering the injured or exhausted runner above must have been feeling, but I can imagine the kindness of two fellow runners. That’s the beauty of the marathon–you are surrounded by people willing to sacrifice their own finish time to help you reach yours. That’s what we runners do for each other, after all–we lift each other up.
This photo makes me so proud to be a runner. What a beautiful example of human compassion and the incredible depth of a runner’s heart.