Sports and Fitness Editors Linnea Moat and Renee Hoppe reflect on the Boston Marathon.
John F. Kennedy once said, “The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.”
While marathons are usually marked by happy finishers, post race drinks, and enthusiastic crowds, this year’s Boston Marathon will always be remembered as an absolute tragedy. Two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are suspected of planting bombs near the finish line, which detonated about 4 hours after the marathon began, a time when a majority of the racers finish. According to ABC News, three people were killed and more than 200 were wounded.
This past Friday the older Tsarnaev brother was killed in a shootout with the police, as his brother fled, finding a hiding place in a Boston man’s boat. Now that authorities have taken him into custody, Tsarnaev will be held for questioning and eventually taken to trial.
As the number of Facebook posts regarding this topic dwindle, and the public’s attention shifts away from this tragedy, as it usually does after these kinds of events, it is critical that we don’t forget the accomplishment of finishing a marathon—especially the Boston Marathon—along with the outpouring of support and kindness surrounding last week’s tragedy.
Running 26.2 miles is an incredible feat that very few can accomplish. It takes dedication, willpower, and an incredible amount of strength—qualities that were demonstrated when many of the marathoners kept running past the finish line in order to donate blood at the nearest hospital.
“I did hear that a lot of the runners literally ran from the finish line to go donate blood. That’s phenomenal that people were thinking in that capacity. I just think that runners are pretty tough, and I’m just grateful that there were so many resources right there at the finish. In really tough times and moments, it’s amazing to hear some of these stories, what people will do and step up to the plate,” Olympic U.S. marathoner Shalane Flanagan said in an interview with Runner’s World.
“I am forever saddened by what happened and for the victims, but ready to remember small moments of joy from Monday,” Olympic marathoner and Duluth-native Kara Goucher tweeted a week after the bombings.
While remembering those who lost their lives or were injured as a result of the Boston bombings is vital to commemorating the event, remembering those who crossed the finish line or tried their best to accomplish their goal of finishing is just as important. In order to maintain a positive outlook on life and continue moving forward, an equal balance of honoring the victims and recognizing heroic acts as well as athletic achievements is crucial.
Lelisa Desisa Benti, a 23-year-old Ethiopian-native was the men’s winner, finishing in 2:10:22. This was Benti’s second marathon—he won his first marathon earlier this year in Dubai. American Jason Hartmann finished fourth for the second year in a row.
32-year-old Kenyan mother Rita Jeptoo, who also won in 2006, won the women’s race in 2:26:25. Flanagan finished in fourth place, and her training partner, Goucher finished sixth.
These runners, along with the 26,839 other registered runners trained diligently for years to achieve their dream of racing in the Boston Marathon, and their accomplishments deserve to be celebrated, despite the tragedy that overshadows the day.
“The Boston Athletic Association extends its deepest sympathies to all those who were affected by Monday’s tragic events. Those who lost their lives and were injured are in our thoughts and prayers. It is a sad day for the City of Boston, for the running community, and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance. We would like to thank the countless people from around the world who have reached out to support us. Boston is strong. Boston is resilient. Boston is our home. And Boston has made us enormously proud,” Thomas Grilk, the Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement released Tuesday, April 16.
In addition to celebrating the runners who raced in the fateful Boston Marathon, there are countless heroes who also deserve to be celebrated for their selfless responses to the tragedy.
Joe Andruzzi, former New England Patriots offensive lineman, is one of these heroes. According to The Toronto Star, Andruzzi was standing near the finish line, cheering on the runners with his wife when the bombs went off. A picture of Andruzzi carrying a distraught woman to safety went viral on social media, but Andruzzi was quick to shift the attention away from himself.
“The spotlight should remain firmly on the countless individuals—first responders, medics, EMTs, runners who crossed the finish line and kept on running straight to give blood, and the countless civilians who did whatever they could to save lives. They were the true heroes,” Andruzzi said in a statement released after the marathon.
The Boston Athletic Association has already confirmed that the Boston Marathon will be run in 2014.
In an interview with Runner’s World, Flanagan envisioned how next year’s Boston Marathon will look. “I see it being just a passion-filled group that has even more motivation to get the best out of themselves on a personal level. I think that everyone is going to be there with heavy hearts but just celebrating the fact that we are back and to celebrate a great city and a great event and celebrate running,” Flanagan said.
While the 2013 Boston Marathon will always be remembered as a tragic event, it is also important to celebrate and remember the beauty that was seen amongst the destruction. It is imperative that we remember the perseverance it took each runner who lined up at the starting line to get to that moment. The champion runners who crossed the finish line in the top ten deserve to be remembered for winning one of the world’s elite marathons. The victims of the bombings deserve to be honored, and the heroes who saved the lives of others should be revered. It is in their selflessness that we can find the hope and courage to carry on in spite of our aching hearts.
If you are interested in making a donation to help the victimis of this tragedy, Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick encourage everyone to visit onefundboston.org.