Several months ago, the staff of the WDC North American (NA) office came up with the idea of a developing a “Fun Run” to promote Act Right Now, our campaign to save endangered North Atlantic right whales. The 5K run was purposely scheduled for May 4th, a time of good weather, a date close to Massachusetts Whale Awareness Day (May 2nd), and a short time after the Boston Marathon.
For those of us in the Boston area, the running of the marathon sparks the athlete in each of us. Each year, a legion of new runners hits the pavement in April, testing the waters to see if, someday, they too, might be competing in the legendary race. What better way to start than a fun 5K, we thought.
And then, yesterday, tragedy struck in Boston. At least three bystanders were killed and another 170+ injured as they cheered runners crossing the finish line. Each of us in the NA office had friends and/or family either participating in, or watching the race. We are lucky, none of our family and friends were injured but none of us are unharmed.
For those of us that grew up around Boston, the Boston Marathon is no different than New Year’s. It’s a celebration, a mark in time, a date that we eagerly await each year. “Heart break hill”, as it is known, is a location during the race where runners are said to face and overcome their exhaustion and power on. This year’s heartbreak was markedly different. But like the runners on the hill, we will face this tragedy and power on.
We will not be canceling our run. By holding our Race to Save a Species we will run not just for right whales, but to honor the families struck by this tragedy. We are a community and organization that does not run from difficulties, but runs and works for something. Thanks to all who have reached out to us during this difficult time and to the supporters who continue to motivate us to run.