Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is every long distance runner’s dream. It’s not just some race anyone can sign up for; you have to earn it. Always set on the third Monday of April, the event attracts about 20,000 participants each year and draws in more than 500,000 spectators, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event. Marathoners are a special group of people, with extreme determination, confidence, motivation, and heart. So why on April 15, 2013 did two young men so carelessly decide to crush so many hardworking people’s dreams?
The time on the race clock showed 4:09:43 when the first explosion shook the scene. About thirteen seconds passed and another explosion went off. More than 5,700 runners had yet to cross the finish line. Volunteers were directing tired runners off the course, and those who had finished had their medals shoved in their faces and were brought to safety. Blood and screams filled Boylston Street as families rushed to make sure their loved ones were safe. Many runners that finished ran through the finish line, continuing on Mass General Hospital to give blood to victims. 183 people were injured from the explosions, and three were killed. The most noted death was of an eight-year-old boy watching his dad run the marathon. His mother and sister sustained serious injuries. President Obama classified the bombings as an act of terror and traveled to Boston on April 18 to attend and address an interfaith service to honor the victims of the attacks.
As horrendous of an act this was, the Boston Marathon will be run for the 118th time in 2014. A written statement from Thomas Grik, the executive director of the Boston Athletic Association wrote:
“Boston is strong. Boston is resilient. Boston is our home. And Boston has made us enormously proud in the past 24 hours. The Boston Marathon is a deeply held tradition – an integral part of the fabric and history of our community. We are committed to continuing that tradition with the running of the 118th Boston Marathon in 2014.”
The runners that were not able to finish or receive their medals were able to pick them up on Tuesday the 16th. Race bibs were turned in to volunteers, which would then go and pick up their medal and present it to them. Some volunteers simply handed the runners their medals, others gave the runners a quiet ceremony and a hug.
On April 19th, in the early morning, police began to chase Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, the two brothers they believed to be the bombers. The boys shot over 200 rounds at the officers, who in turn, shot and killed Tamerlan. Dzhokhar was able to escape until police found him hiding under a boat parked behind a house in Watertown, MA. Dzhokhar suffered from gunshot wounds but was responsive. He was taken in to custody. Local residents were relieved and celebrated in the streets knowing that justice was finally served after five long days.
The bombings will never be erased from spectators and runners memories as the years pass, but the Boston Marathon tradition will continue. Runners are the wrong group of people to mess with.