Read other Sandy Hook virtual race reports.
While I really wanted this virtual 5K to be a healing gesture and a note of hope—aside from the $20 entrance fee which, wonderfully, will go to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund established officially by the victims' families—it wasn't. I stepped onto my fancy new treadmill, which I've been using to help recover from a bunch of injuries, and I felt nothing. There was just a void. Running is inspiring, it's ennobling and it most certainly has the power to heal. But not that night. Did I mention that I ran it at night? Appropriate.
But, the treadmill can be a dead space. The running is great, but there's no natural world, no splendor. That quality just reinforced the nothingness I was feeling. I know what it was: the run was meant to say, yes, we are with you folks who have suffered so badly. We won't forget. We will take action to try and slow down the tide of misery that flows from such weapons being so available to so many with such little regulation.
But, as the energy pounded and my heart rate grew, a sense of resignation crept into my thoughts. I know that the Government will take some action soon, but I also know that it won't fix the problem nearly enough, not nearly enough. Because mental healthcare in this country is inadequate and even the most stringent gun laws being considered will never be enough. There is something fundamental, primal in our nature; we human beings will have to grow inside. As a species, we will have to develop a stronger capacity for empathy. It will take a very very very long time. But for now, as sure as I'm typing, it will happen again. So, this roughly 34 minute run thunked on, and I tried to remind myself that a community of runners is a beacon of humanity, a vision of what the world can be. My love and thoughts and prayers for healing are with the families and loved ones.
I'm glad we all did the virtual 5K. I think it was a fitting and righteous tribute that we offered in our way. It gave me no pleasure, but as I reflect now I realize, that at the very least, in response to a senseless and awful national tragedy, it was not sitting still.