“Yes!” I said with an excited energy of anticipation in my voice.
“Over the mountains, across nine states, through all weather conditions, over 1,000 miles?”
“Yes,” I replied, with a little less confidence.
“And then when you arrive in Boston, you plan on running the full Boston Marathon?”
“Yes,” I responded, sensing the now familiar tone in the person’s voice. The tone of shock, a hint of amusement and a dash of concern. But the question I’ve been asked a hundred times came next.
That really is the question. It is the question we can apply to anything we do in our lives. Why do we buy a house? Why do we trade a perfectly good car for a new car? Or a question my son asks: “Why wash your hands when they are just going to get dirty again?”
All good questions. Sometimes it requires thought and consideration to answer the query “Why?” Fortunately, while I do have a lot of uncertainty about this project ... Where are we going to sleep? How steep are those mountains? What if it rains the whole time? ... the one answer I am 100 percent confident about is the “why.”
Almost exactly one year ago, two bombs exploded at the biggest running event in the world, killing three innocent people, including a child, and injuring 260 others, many suffering amputations. This tragedy felt very personal to me. It felt like an attack on me, and even more so, on my family.
You see, where those bombs were planted and inevitably exploded is where the largest congregation of spectators was located. The bombs weren’t targeting runners, like me and many of my friends. Rather, they targeted the innocent and faithful families that stood in the finishing chute, many for hours, in hopes of getting a glimpse of their loved ones as they crossed that legendary finish line.
You see, my family has made that stand. They have stood in rain and cold, sun and heat, waiting hours just to see me run by, blow a kiss and give a wave. Hours of time spent entertaining children on the side of a road just to catch a glimpse and to communicate their love and support of me and my hobby.
These are the people those terrorists attacked ... women and children, husbands and siblings ... standing there cheering the runners. It was an attack on the faithful. It was an attack on the loyal. It was an attack on my family.
It was then that we knew we had to do something. That “something” became a larger-than-life, epic journey across this country in an effort to support those impacted by the tragedy. And at some level, a journey for me, for my family and for ALL those loved ones who stand on the side and cheer. Because the truth is, if the road wasn’t filled with those cheering us on, there would be no race.
(Editor’s Note: Matt has a beautiful family — his wife, son, two daughters, Tucker the family dog and seven chickens. He will be proud to run his first Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21. “Father Time” appears in alternating Wednesday editions of the Cleveland Daily Banner.)