What will happen to big-city marathons' openness? Here, a response from a veteran marathoner, written on the day of the bombings.
On Monday afternoon, bombs killed and injured people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I feel as if my own family has been violated. Worse, after a lifetime of writing about how running is one of the most positive forces in the modern world.
I've been in Boston five days. I've been at media conferences, parties, meals with fellow writers and a running travel group, and the expo. I ran among lots of runners alongside the Charles River, I stood and cheered on the sidelines of the 5-K and street mile, and today I reported the race from the media center, surrounded by journalists from around the world (tell us what you saw and share your thoughts, in Reactions From the Running Community). There has been not one moment in all five days that has been anything but warm, friendly, supportive, generous, benevolent in the fullest sense. Until now.
I'm not just being warm and fuzzy. Marathon running has a long tradition of celebrating, commemorating, and affirming life. The original Olympic marathon in 1896 was to commemorate the man who carried the news of a victory for freedom. The first Boston Marathon a year later followed that idea by honoring the ride of Paul Revere, not on his actual route, but always on his day, Patriots Day in the State of Massachusetts (that's why it's on Monday). The Kosice Marathon in Slovakia and the Comrades Marathon in South Africa were created to commemorate the dead in World War 1. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon affirms life after the bombings in that city in 1995. This very Boston Marathon mourned and honored the school kids who were gunned down a few months ago in Newtown, Connecticut, not far from here. Out of respect for them, the race was started for the first time in 117 years not with a gun but with an air horn.