A throwback post I wrote in 2013 as we acknowledge the 10 year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing.
April 16, 2013
In my typical sarcastic fashion, I once wrote a column titled, ‘Running is Stupid’. This self-deprecating piece was intended to offer some humor and levity to those dedicated marathoners and day in/day out joggers in our society. I wrote it just over a year ago.
Well, what a difference a year makes, huh?
On Monday, Patriot’s Day in Boston, one of the great traditions in sport took place for the 117th time; The Boston Marathon. But the marathon and the sport of running, in general, will never be the same after what the world witnessed.
At approximately 2:50PM, almost simultaneously, two bomb devices exploded on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay, just steps from that historic finish line that so many thousands of runners dream of crossing after grueling months and, sometimes, years of training.
Here are the facts to date…
3 people are dead….including an 8 year old boy.
Hundreds of people are injured.
The city of Boston, and perhaps the nation, is back on high alert.
Winner’s tape is now police tape. That famous finish line is now a crime scene.
The media has provided around the clock coverage. Every leader, official and law officer has weighed in. President Obama has pledged the full force and backing of the White House.
Every person of power and authority is doing all they can to find answers to this senseless act or terror and violence. Those answers will surely come, hopefully sooner than later.
In the wake of the incredible sadness and confusion, we all want answers. Many want justice. Many want vengeance. All of us want peace.
I am in no position to provide any solution or even solace in the midst of this overpowering tragedy, but I can now say with total and utter clarity; running is certainly NOT stupid.
Running is perhaps the purest of all sports. A sport that can be experienced and loved by children at the youngest of ages to our elders in society that refuse to slow down because of a number(just ask 78-year-old marathoner Bill Iffrig who was knocked to the ground by the blast just steps before completing the race). Running and marathoning are as old as mythological Gods and embody the human spirit. A sport of will, determination and self-discipline. A sport that will now forever be tarnished due to the acts of a few.
However, running proved to be the savior in this whole horrific tale. Running, not by just those soulful and dedicated marathoners but also by the fearless first responders, courageous volunteers and innocent bystanders.
With the face of evil in plain sight of literally thousands of joyful participants and spectators, running is what help save lives and rescue our fellow human beings.
As we all witnessed this terror unfold on television we were also seeing bravery, courage and compassion that only times of true emergency and crises are revealed in people’s character. While our beloved police, fire and emergency service professionals leapt to action immediately, as they always do, so did the untrained, the unprepared and, in this case, the exhausted. Thousands of onlookers, confused and scared, almost instantly rose to this unimaginable occasion. Despite the bloodshed and loss of life happening right in front of their eyes during the world’s most famous race, people continued to run.
They ran to help the injured.
They ran to help a child.
They ran to donate blood.
They ran to lend a helping hand even in, perhaps, the darkest and most frightening moments of their lives.
People were running for life. Running to save their own. Running to save others.
Sir Roger Bannister, the first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile, once stated:
“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.”
It is certainly hard to disagree with that last part.