There were runners from more than 50 countries — as far as Hungary, Iceland, Brazil and Vietnam, to name a few. And every state was represented with 111 from Alabama, 1,980 from California, 57 from Hawaii and close to 5,000 from Massachusetts.
The preparation for these athletes is unreal. By the time they make it to Boston they have spent hours and hours, months and months preparing. They have gotten up early and sacrificed a lot for the chance to run the Boston Marathon. The expense to get there — from places all over this world — the expense of staying there and, of course, the miles and miles and miles logged in preparation.
Imagine that it is your dream. You have looked forward to this event for years. You’ve pictured in your mind how it will feel — your family standing behind you, maybe even traveling with you. You are prepared and the time has finally come.
Then imagine that some coward tries to ruin it, tries to take away this moment that you have trained so hard to experience. A day that was supposed to be a celebration of what your body can do, of the extremes we can push ourselves to, of the ability to pull it off.
It should have been a happy day.
The Boston Marathon does not have open registration. The runners there that day had to earn their place. Each person represents a journey, a story, so to speak. Not just the elite athletes who easily qualified but the moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, sons and daughters who have worked to qualify for years and years. Just achieving the qualifying time for Boston is a huge achievement in itself.
A few thousand spots go to charity runners with heart, each representing a different charity, sponsor or vendor. In 2010 these charity runners raised more than $14 million. What kind of low life would want to ruin this cause? Who would want to ruin all the work that went into each runner’s dream of running the Boston Marathon?
No matter who it is, they cannot take away the spirit of runners or the spirit of Americans. We are such a great and resilient nation. In honor and in memory of the runners and their families affected by this tragedy, we must continue to band together.
Go out and start a running group in your neighborhood. Ask your neighbors to start a walking group. Get a group together and make a fitness plan. Do this for the Boston Marathoners. Make you and your body stronger. That makes us all stronger.
The cowards responsible for those bombs in Boston better get strong too. They will need it.