We will overcome

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.


I know everyone is writing about this and I have no doubt some are far more eloquently than I will. Still, I can’t help but add my own thoughts.

Yesterday’s events at Boston have shaken the running community. There is no denying that. Never, as far as I can recall, has an act of terror so directly attacked the distance running community. There have been acts of terror targeting the Olympics and that, obviously, affects the running community but they weren’t directly targeted at a running event. They were targeted at an event that running is a part of. On top of that, this wasn’t an attack on just a running event. It was an attack on the longest-running annual marathon in the world. It was an attack on possibly the most famous marathon in the world (some might quibble with this but it is definitely among the top two or three).

At the same time, runners in general have interminable spirits. We don’t just pack it in when something goes wrong. Individually, we overcome and return from injuries. We come back from bad races with good races. When we fall down 9 times, we get up 10 times. Runners seem to be hardwired for that. Actually, I just think it’s a process of natural selection. Runners fall down. Those who don’t get back up don’t remain runners.

This time, it’s not an individual battle we have to overcome but an attack on our community as a whole. True, the attack probably wasn’t targeted at the running community as much as it was targeted at a high profile event in a major US city but the chosen target was a running event and, as such, the attacker picked a fight with the running community. I have no doubt that we, as a community, will get up again. That’s what we do individually and that’s what we will do as a community.

The individuals affected by this will have a long road back. By the latest count I’ve heard, three families are paying the ultimate sacrifice. Many others are suffering great loss themselves and have long roads to recovery. I have no doubt the running community will rally around all of those who are suffering physical and emotional scars that many of us can’t imagine. We may not be able to do everything for them but we will do all we can and we will not forget about them. They are now a part of our sport’s history.

In the meantime, those of us with less severe scars will come back. In a way, our sport has lost some of its innocence. Starting with London this coming Sunday, security at major events is never going to be the same again. That said, we will not give up. We will not give in. I fully plan to be out racing this Saturday and, in my own way, remembering those who have been so seriously affected by the events of yesterday and celebrating the resiliency of not just the participants of our great sport but of our great sport itself.

In the end, we will follow the lead of Bill Iffrig who, after being knocked down by the explosion, got back up and crossed the finish line.

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