By Laura Edwards

end of raceBefore Batten disease robbed my little sister of her ability to run, she joined the Girls on the Run team at her school. With the help of a sighted running buddy, she jogged across the finish line of two local 5Ks.

Taylor ran her last race almost four years ago. Around that same time, I ran my first race in her honor.

My sister can’t run anymore, but I’ve logged thousands of miles for her.

In the past five months, I’ve run four races for Taylor – all different distances – and set four new personal records (PRs). Even after making the first page of results and placing second in my division at Charlotte RaceFest on Saturday, I already had my next race on my mind.

I get stuck on my times, because I’m a perfectionist. I like to challenge myself, both mentally and physically. Whereas some runners hate hills, I say, bring them on. They help me keep things in perspective; my sister’s battle against Batten disease is tougher than any hill I’ll ever face, even if I had two broken legs.

But the senseless acts of hatred that took place at the Boston Marathon this afternoon reminded me that it’s not all about when you cross the finish line.

It’s also about the people you love who staked out a spot along the course to wave handmade signs – the people who will give you a hug at the end, no matter how sweaty you are.

It’s about being healthy enough to finish a race – first or last.

It’s about having this day to stage a race, any race – because each day we receive is a gift from God.

My heart goes out to all those affected by the tragedy in Boston today.

And for as long as my legs will carry me, I’ll keep on running for Taylor.

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