On the 2013 Boston Marathon

I ran this weekend in Costa Rica.  It was a tough race, one that I want to share with the world.  But in the wake of yesterday’s incident at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I feel petty and trivial writing about it.  I will upload it eventually, but I feel much deflated at the moment, as if I just learned that a relative or close friend were in the hospital with a terminal illness.

Yesterday was disorienting.  I was thrilled that Shalane Flanagan had earned a 4th place finish in the women’s race, and ecstatic that Jason Hartmann once again proved that tall guys could finish near the front.  I checked results to see friends and fellow bloggers crossing the finish line, adding the prestigious and historic race to their running scrapbook, memories of a tough effort forever engraved in their running logs.  And then it all went to hell.

It was a despicable, cowardly act committed by despicable, cowardly people.  No matter how much I try to warp my perspective, I can’t seem to glean what indecipherably dark and baseless sentiment would lead someone to do this.  Even in our cynical, post 9-11 world, I can’t drag myself to such a disgusting level.  To those responsible: I don’t care what your vendetta is or with whom you take grave issue in this world, but you have absolutely no problems with innocent people universally supporting the struggles, pains and triumphs of their brothers and sisters from all over the world. 

Targeting people watching or running a marathon is no better or worse than targeting civilians walking to work.  But marathons can be the most inspirational events to witness – to see the world come together for a common purpose, raising millions for charitable causes and bringing families together.  Runners come from all walks of life, from every background and every country.  You did not just insult the people of Boston, but citizens of the world trying to do something great.

If your motives were to break our spirit, as runners and as people, you certainly failed.  Immediately after the event we read many stories about the courage and selflessness of first responders running toward the blast, medical personnel instantly treating the wounded, even marathoners who after running for almost four hours donated blood without hesitation.  All over the internet, runners and non-runners alike came together in solidarity for those affected by this tragic event.  The spirit of the marathon, that spirit of unconditional support and courage, was alive yesterday despite the harrowing pain.

As for me, my heart goes out to the victims of this detestable, craven act; to all of those who finished and had their moment of celebration soiled; to those who felt their dreams stopped short because of someone’s revolting scheme; and to those who watched in horror, knowing they had friends or loved ones on the course, waiting in shock and disbelief for news of their safety.

I went for a quick jog yesterday to try and get my mind off the news.  I couldn’t, but I kept one foot in front of the other, moving onwards.  Because that’s what we ultimately must do – continue doing what we do.  If we live in fear of events like this, then we give in.  Whoever did this wanted to scare and scar us and we can’t let that control how we live our lives.  I for one will continue running, continue my journey, as I hope so many millions will do once all the debris is cleared from Boylston Street.  But for the next few days, I will sit meditatively and think with slow breaths on those who cannot.

Onwards,

Dan

The crime tips hotline in Boston can be reached at 1-800-494-TIPS (8477).

Additional thoughts and perspectives from friends:

See Glenn Run
The Run Factory (2013 Boston Finisher)
T-Rex Runner
Blisters, Cramps & Heaves
Fluency’s Folly (2013 Boston Finisher)
Adventure Foot
Medal Slut
Masher Runs
Bad Angels
Numberz Runner
The Fartlek
Racing the States
Lavender Running (2013 Boston Finisher)
Too Tall Fritz
Devil’s Chasing Me
We Wander and Ponder (2013 Boston Finisher)

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About Dan
Running a marathon in all 50 states because there's no better way to explore the world around you than on your own two feet, for as long as you can, until you hate yourself and everything around you. Then you stop, get a medal, and start over.

11 Responses to On the 2013 Boston Marathon

  1. glenn says:

    Thank you for writing this, Dan. I sat last night and tried multiple times to put down what I was thinking and feeling, but nothing seemed good enough.

    I keep oscillating between bouts of sorrow and anger. It’s hard to imagine someone committing such an evil, violent act against anyone – let alone innocent people euphoric in a moment of accomplishment and celebration.

    You will run. I will run. And everyone out there will keep running – maybe even more than before this.

  2. kellybee322 says:

    This was beautifully written and perfectly said. I was having such a hard time collecting my feelings into something coherent and you did it better than I could or would have. This attack hit close to home as a runner and a running spectator…just how pure and wonderful the joy, struggle and celebration of accomplishment these events is and how it has been sullied. How heartbreaking for all the participants and families and victims. And we will all run, and be thankful for the legs and breath that carry us.

  3. Mike says:

    Wow. The comments above say it all… reading your words gave me goosebumps. I was glad to see your new post in my Inbox this morning, knowing you’d be able to put into words fluently the maelstrom of hurt, confusion and sorrow that so many people are trying to come to grips with today. I hope you’ve considered sharing this with Runner’s World or a similar media outlet… it deserves a wider audience.

    Right now I’m feeling, like you, that a run is the only thing capable of distracting my mind from the horrors of the past 27 hours. And I feel like I owe it to Boston, and to those who can’t run for themselves, to reach deep down and do what it takes to make myself good enough to earn its qualifying call.

    Onwards, always.

  4. Pete B says:

    Thanks for this post. They will never break our spirits.

  5. Well done, sir. I have also had a very hard time coming up with the right words, and a lot of what you wrote is similar to thoughts I have yet to pin down fully. Like you, I had a race report I was excited to write that was deferred for a bit. It has not broken my sprit, though. I still plan to earn my spot in Boston.

  6. Thanks for writing this, Dan. Your words echo my thoughts. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for this. I was in Boston during the weekends. I was spared by the bombing but I am affected emotionally. I will continue to run for Boston.

  8. Pingback: Bonus: Costa Rica (2013 Cerros de Escazú 21k) | Dan's Marathon

  9. Koji Kawano says:

    I returned home last night and thought about putting my thoughts on my blog, but I was not able to manage it. Still collecting thoughts and emotions get in the way. One thing is sure, though. I will be in Boston next year to make a tribute to those who had to suffer and show gratitude to those who helped out after the incident.

  10. Pingback: Tuesday Newsday – 4/30 – The Last THREE Weeks | Racing The States...

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