A lot has been said about the attack in Boston, but not enough about the courage and strength displayed by marathoners on Monday. I can think of no better group of individuals to rise to the occasion than runners.
The response to the bombings was incredible. Soon after the attacks, the Red Cross tweeted that its blood supplies were already full. People lined up outside Tufts Medical Center wanting to help. I saw a photo of a runner who had removed his shirt to tie a tourniquet for an injured spectator. There were even reports that some runners who crossed the finish line continued running to Massachusetts General Hospital to try to donate blood.
I witnessed the resolve of endurance runners in New York in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The New York Marathon was cancelled less than 48 hours before the start time after participants had already flown in from across the world. Tens of thousands, including myself, were disappointed and even angry after learning that the safety of runners would be threatened if the Marathon went on as planned. But runners were quick to turn a negative situation into a positive by organizing a massive relief benefit.
Hundreds, if not thousands of runners spent their Sunday in Staten Island, running from house to house donating supplies and volunteering manual labor. The amount of volunteers exceeded the amount of work that could be done, similar to aftermath of Boston. If runners weren’t in Staten Island, they met in Central Park where several groups organized donation drop-offs. Many then ran 26.2 miles in the Park to honor their months of training, the commitments they made to their charities that earned them a spot in the race, and the victims of Sandy. There was no official count but I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of runners exceeded 10,000 from dozens of countries. I was prouder to be a part of the first unofficial marathon than I would have been to be a part of the real thing.
Some disagreed with the reaction by marathoners that day, but many more saw it as an example of the awesome character of runners. So I was not surprised to learn of the heroism displayed earlier this week. At a time when there may likely be questions about the safety of runners and spectators at future marathons, I know people will still be more excited than ever to be part of these amazing events. The runners and spectators (who are a huge factor in helping athletes endure through the grueling run) make a marathon an experience that everyone should take part in at least once. This Washington Post article says it best, ‘If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon’.
Show support for the Boston victims by participating in any one of the #BostonStrong events. Our friend, Abby, is organizing a run in Central Park on Monday at 6:30pm. Greatist is also sponsoring a 5k meetup this Saturday which will begin at the Reebok Crossfit 5th Ave.