I just love the San Francisco Bay to Breakers – a tradition for nearly 100 years – a 12k footrace held every May with serious runners and costumed participants. Many times over the last 30 years, I’ve lined the streets of my adopted hometown to cheer on the runners. My favorite moments are long after those amazing, elite runners have come in, breaking records and winning titles. It is the ‘regular’ people – the teachers, mothers, veterans, retirees – who inspire me the most. Those who endured blisters and sore muscles and tired knees in order to celebrate their bodies through activity.
It was these runners and their loved ones who were attacked in Monday’s Boston marathon bombing. The explosions were timed so that these runners, these everyday people running an extraordinary race, and their supporters, would fall.
I’m sure I don’t need to recount for you Readers the horror that unfolded in video and pictures that afternoon; I know I will be haunted by those images for the rest of my life.
But I am not writing to focus on what happened – I am writing to suggest how we can move forward from this tragedy.
Let’s honor the memories of those lost and the life-changing injuries of survivors and appreciate and celebrate what matters to them – physical health. Whether they were there to cheer on a friend or running themselves, those touched by this tragedy were brought together on Monday by a love and respect for the amazing capacity of the human body, in all shapes and sizes, to run, jog, or walk an incredible distance.
There is already a grassroots movement underway to do just this, using the hashtag #runforboston. As discussed in this article, runners are going out on runs to honor those affected and to help process the tragedy themselves. Some are running full marathons; others are simply doing a few miles. Every step counts.
Physical well-being is so vital to happiness, and it is within our grasp. As a body image mentor and coach, I work with many students who, because they are ashamed and/or unfamiliar with their bodies, shun movement and activity. Doing so creates a downward spiral of self-loathing and idleness. When my students finally start walking, doing yoga or taking dance classes, their bodies and their positive self-image just blossom.
So let’s find some beauty in the ashes of last week’s terrible news; let’s make a commitment to honor and love our bodies through movement.
You don’t need to run the next Boston marathon to do your part. It’s okay if running’s not for you – I haven’t been able to run since knee surgery five years ago, and yet I still move daily. Instead, find something you can love as much as those marathoners love running. Pilates, swimming, martial arts, even a walk around your neighborhood – all of these activities can be your way of honoring the message of the Boston marathon, the message that no attack can silence:
We love our bodies; we treat them well; we revel in their motion.
How can you honor those whose lives have been changed through movement?
How will you love your beautiful body today?
Weight Release & Body Image Coach Laura Fenamore is on a mission to guide women around the world to love what they see in the mirror, one pinky at a time, so they can unlock the secrets to a healthy weight and start loving their lives as soon as possible. Learn more about her programs, invite her to speak or contribute to your program or conference, or place pre-orders for her book today at OnePinky.com.