Monday, April 15th 2013, the 117th running of the Boston Marathon began just like any other Marathon Monday. The sidewalks from Hopkinton to Boston were filled with hundreds of thousands of spectators hoping to urge on their friends, families and favorite runners. The streets were filled with world champions hoping to fulfill their quest for marathon greatness, road warriors hoping to set new PRs, charity runners running for amazing causes and those running for themselves or a loved one. Much like last year the day was full of hopes, dreams and aspirations which people wore proudly on their arms and legs or on the front or backs of their shirts. However, a day that began full of hope ended, for many, in shock, disbelief, horror and mayhem.
At approximately 2:50pm an unimaginable act of terror ended what is considered by many, to be a great testament to the human spirit. Or at least that is what those responsible would like to believe. However, if history has taught us anything it is that the human spirit perseveres through anything. The sports and athletic community has overcome tragedy time and time again on a global scale. The Boston Marathon, like the Olympics, is an event that brings people together from all around the world. Many of us have, unfortunately, seen this type of tragedy take place on a global stage before. On the morning of July 27th, 1996 a similar scene took place at the Atlanta Summer Olympics taking the lives of two individuals and injuring more than 100 others. On September 5th, 1972 at the Olympic Games in Munich an attack was carried out on Israeli Olympic team, 11 of its members were killed in the following event. These two senseless acts would go on to forever live in the minds of those who were alive at the time and serve as stories to tell generations to follow. However, not for the reasons one would think. Yes, these two acts of terror will forever live on in the minds of those who lived to hear and tell about it, yes it will forever be etched into some record for as long as there will be recorded history. But generations from now, when those who were alive to tell about Marathon Monday 2013 are no longer around and the physical scars have long been blown away by the sands of time, it will not be a feeling of terror that will endure. It will be the human spirit, perseverance, and the will to pursue ones dreams and uphold the dreams of others in friendship and competition that will endure, just as it always has.
This is something that has and will continue to affect millions if not billions of people worldwide, for the Boston Marathon is not for Bostonians or Americans alone. It is a stage for any and all people to show their determination, heart, friendship and will for all to see. Yes this has hurt the national and international athletic community, yes there is a level of fear and terror that everyone is feeling right now, yes this attack was effective, but it was not effective for what you might think it was. Was the 1972 Olympics the last Olympic Games ever? No, it wasn’t. When terror struck again in 1996, did the world roll over and call it quits, did it give up on the human spirit? No…it didn’t. The Boston Marathon, (like the Olympics and other illustrious events around the world) is more than just a race, it is a testament to the human spirit and the human spirit does not bend, break or yield. Will we feel sadness, anger, outrage or disbelief? Absolutely! But a year from now and onwards we will be on the mend, runners will be striving to cross the finish line in record time, we will see random acts of kindness from strangers handing out freeze pops during record heat and the feet will hit the pavement just as they have 116 Boston Marathons before this.