Man dies at finish of Broad Street Run
While we were celebrating in the big grassy field inside the naval yard, a runner crossed the finish line, collapsed, and never woke up again. I read the news in the paper yesterday while looking up results in the Broad Street special section. The news gave me a major jolt -- this sunny race and death don't go together. I found myself asking, "are you sure we really couldn't wake this person up?" It didn't sink in. I felt very weird, perhaps with some surviver guilt there. I looked over at my watch, which still had my finishing time there, and erased it. Times are frivolous. It seemed not just wrong, but also stupid, to stare and compare the 15,000 finishers' times printed in the paper or to gloat about my own race when someone had died doing the same.
From the articles I've read today, the runner, Robert Massaroni, was a teacher and track coach at the middle school I went to, taught martial arts at a place in Bensalem, got his masters at Temple, and had just completed his third Broad Street Run. He has a wife and a lot of people who love him. He was 29. We had just run the same course. I don't know him, but it's impossible to ignore the few degrees of separation.
I'll probably recover from this feeling of loss sooner than I should, but I hope to remember this, which I used to half-jokingly say: "there is more to life than running."
Update May 14, 2007 - I learned last night that my 13-year-old cousin William, who goes to Shafer Middle School, ran and finished Broad Street on the team organized by Mr. Massaroni. How hard it must've been to go to a race with your teacher and not see him again. This hits even closer to home.