It’s not easy to break a runner.
Runners are tough. They have spirit. They are determined. They run in the face of adversity. Runners are used to pain.
But the pain inflicted at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 was something else altogether.
Who targets a celebration of mental and physical strength and endurance? Who plants bombs among unsuspecting crowds, crowds made up of men, women and children?
Who is it who fills a pressure cooker full of nails and ball bearings with the deliberate intention to maim and kill?
Sometimes I think monsters walk among us.
The entire incident had an eerie feeling of 9/11 to it. A beautiful, crisp day with the sun beaming down. And then two bombs one after another and then mayhem and panic.
Even so, the cowardly Boston bombings are less 9/11 and more a copy cat crime of the Atlanta Olympic Park bombings of 1996. In that instance, a backpack with three pipe bombs with nails packed around them was deposited at a concert. Two people died and 111 were injured, very close to the current Boston toll.
To say so many died and X amount were injured is so antiseptic.
An eight year old boy had his life torn from him while waiting to yell encouragement at his father.
In the hospitals, they are cutting limbs off people. Surgeons told the press the bombs had already done the work and they were just finishing it.
Bystanders tried to shield young children from seeing the gore – and failed.
My heart is heavy.
As are the hearts of countless thousands of others.
Such an act is aggressively anti-social. It strikes directly at the democratic right of assembly.
Such a right is enshrined because instinctively it recognizes a fundamental of human behavior: people like to herd.
We congregate to celebrate our existence, with giant music festivals, Olympic games and, yes, marathons.
To stop those celebrations because of fear is to let those who would terrorize us win. That won’t happen. We cannot let it happen.
We must feel free, safe and, yes, defiant, to gather in large crowds and exercise our democratic right and express our happiness and pure joy at the wonder of who we are and the accomplishments we are capable of performing.
On Sunday the London Marathon will go ahead. Runners will observe a 30 second silence, wear black ribbons and, in a more informal observance, cross the line with their hands on their hearts.
Runners will not be stopped. Marathoners will not be stopped. People will not be stopped.
The spirit of the marathon lives on. The spirit of the human race perseveres.