April 16, 2013
In an interview with ICNA.org, Jalon Fowler, a Muslim participant of the Boston Marathon relates her experience.
I have always dreamed of running the Boston Marathon; I have grown up seeing others in the Boston area train and prepare for the marathon. Three years ago, I finally took the plunge and joined my company’s Marathon Training Program. I also very much wanted to give back to the community and, therefore, became a charity runner for the Boys & Girls Club of Boston and the Ron Burton Training Village. Both organizations serve inner city and under-served youth.
I trained for over six months for this race. I did a lot of running with my company’s Employee Training Program, local running groups and with friends. We ran through rain, wind and snow. We also did many 5 am runs, two half marathon races and several 16, 18 and 20 mile runs. I kept up with the training through busy times at work, sick kids and other life events. I remained committed because training for a marathon is simply something you put your heart and soul and believe that you get out of it what you put into it.
Charity, helping others, and being the best emotional, spiritual and physical person are major parts of being a Muslim. The marathon allowed me to strive towards all of these goals.
This was my third Boston Marathon and I was on pace for my best finish to-date. However, the dream ended at mile 21 when the race was shut down due to explosions at the finish line. At this point, we were all quickly ushered off the course and told that, in addition to the finish line explosions, there were several suspicious packages being investigated. We were all heartbroken, devastated and scared by this news. During this time, we hugged each other and shared cell phones to contact loved ones. Thankfully, my husband and two young children were with me at mile 21. Since our car was close by, we drove a fellow stranded runner home. Unfortunately, my other family members were waiting for me at the finish line when the explosions happened and had to run for safety.
I am heartbroken, that so many innocent people were hurt. This beautiful day was scarred by this tragedy. I am thankful that my family was safe.
I put my heart and soul into training and raising money for The Boys and Clubs of Boston and The Ron Burton Training Village and can’t believe it ended in such a tragic way. I love Boston. I love the Boston running community. I can’t wait to proudly run these streets again. I will run the Boston Marathon until my body cannot take it anymore, God willing, for those that cannot.
I pray that whoever is responsible for these horrific acts are brought to justice. It was no doubt an act of cowardice and evil.
Jalon Fowler lives near Boston with her husband and 3 children.
© The Islamic Circle of North America- ICNA.org
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.