To Those Who Ran Forward

I was typing do’s and don’ts’. Travel advice. I’d made a little list of what we did well, as opposed to where we’d failed dismally on our trip to Paris. I thought it would be a great blog post to keep for myself for future reference. And that maybe those of you who travel with families might also find it useful.

My twitter feed runs in the top right hand corner of my screen. It drives G nuts every time he uses my laptop. This is G who cannot read a newspaper and stir his coffee at the same time. Remember the movie UP? And the dog who was easily distracted? “Squirrel!” That’s G’s attention span, if I ask too many questions while he’s concentrating on something one of his eyes begins to twitch. One thing at a time.

Most of the time I ignore the twitter feed unless I see something that begins with BREAKING. Within a millisecond of the first tweet of the explosions in Boston the hashtag #BostonMarathon began to spin out of control. The first picture was from a runner who posted a photo with a Facebook link, the title was “God help us.”

We landed in Paris last Sunday morning, dumped our bags at the house and immediately caught the train into the Champs Elysees where we were greeted by a sea of marathon runners. It was an awe inspiring sight, hundreds of exhausted yet obviously exhilarated runners who were proudly wearing their blue plastic ponchos. We immediately plonked ourselves in a cafe in the middle of the action. As we sat with hot chocolates and croque monsieurs, blue ponchos hobbled by in different stages of pain. Two guys were celebrating their finish just a couple of tables away from us, both had jugs – one filled with guinness the other with beer. They were jubilant but neither was moving very quickly.

I keep seeing the same footage. There’s an explosion, a man falls to the ground as does a woman. Runners cross the line with their hands over the heads, turning backwards to see where the noise is coming from. There is an immediately change of mood. The jubilation and the cheers turn to confusion and chaos.

And then something amazing happens.

People begin to run towards the explosion. Towards it. Spectators, officials, runners, policemen and women, all scramble to pull down fencing and gates to get to the wounded.

There were no distractions, they had one focus, one common goal. To help those left behind.

As I type there are no announcements on who is responsible or why such an atrocity would take place, but there’s a lot of talk of publicity and motivation.

To those who ran forward. You are truly inspiring. I choose to focus on you.

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