I learned that courage is contagious. I learned that determination will always persevere. And that the good guy doesn’t always wear a white hat.
I watched America unite once again. In so many ways it reminded me of 9/11. It didn’t matter if you were a runner or a spectator, a Sox fan or not. We’ve all teared up this past week as we’ve seen and heard the countless stories of heroism and compassion along Boylston Street.
More “memes” have popped up on Facebook and Twitter than I could even begin to count. And what was spreading like wildfire is that courage, determination and perseverance isn’t a learned behavior. Everyone has it; but what we do with it is different story.
I also learned that courage, determination and perseverance are all very relative.
My brother once texted me from Iraq and said something along the lines of “Enjoy your day at work!” which, to an Army soldier patrolling the streets in Baghdad, fearing that one wrong step could be his last, a day at Camp Good Days sounds pretty darn good.
But to the little girl that comes to Camp Good Days for the first time, scared to share with anyone that her hair isn’t her own, and that she has a brain tumor, a day at Camp Good Days is an entirely different story.
See what I mean. It’s all relative.
So how could I possibly write about the “courage” it took me to sign up for a 77-mile relay with a team I didn’t know from Poughkeepsie this week? I can’t. There’s nothing courageous about that. What I’m trying to relay is simple. It doesn’t take courage for me to run. Running gives me courage.
Running gives me that something special — it allows me to be a better person, a friendlier person, a nicer person and a more forgiving person. Running has nursed me through a lot of low points in life, it’s given me the courage to rise to the occasion and persevere.
Not that it’s any consolation to the families that lost their loved ones in a split second or the hundreds of people that were maimed by a couple of cowards and their despicable acts, but the amount of courage displayed from the first responders, innocent bystanders and runners continues to be immeasurable.
I can only hope that as I continue to run, I will gain more courage to handle whatever I’m faced with.
Nicole LeClair Jones is the Special Events Coordinator for Camp Good Days and Special Times, which serves children and families affected by cancer. She’s the mother of two young children, and an avid runner (5:50 a.m. you’ll find her running somewhere) Last July she served as the race director for the Just Clowning Around 5K to benefit Camp Good Days. Contact her at email@example.com if you’re ever looking for a running partner or if you’ve got a story idea.