Monday, April 15, 2013

Terror and The Boston Marathon


The terrorist attack upon Boston, using the institution of the Boston Marathon as the opportunity to hurt and kill and instill fear, is utterly reprehensible. The world community, the sane world community, will condemn this in words, and the individuals or group of individuals, whether they execute another plan like this or not, will have likely achieved some of their goals. Making people think twice about attending large open sporting events, events that aren’t constantly policed at every entrance and exit, instilling that kernel of fear into a million brains at once, that’s one of their goals.

And its worth repeating, since we’ve gotten so used to the word “terrorist” that we often forget to look at the root, terror, which is defined at “intense, sharp, overmastering fear.” Fear of what? Fear of boarding an airplane? Fear of getting on a subway platform? Fear of running a marathon? Fear of living your life? The answer is: all of the above. The terrorist is looking to take away that which you hold dear, for whatever perceived slight or abuse they have had to suffer.

And that revenge includes killing 8 year olds.

The running community has long been a hearty lot, and we react, irrationally, compulsively, to many things, but the overriding aspect is that we keep on going. We run in warzones, we run in inhospitable weather, we run through tragedies. And our community, if you pressed us, to a person, would most likely be to say that we love the freedom we have when we run. Any type of freedom of course, freedom from the job, from the kids, from the cell phone, freedom to run hard, to float, to pass as many others before the finish line. The freedom to enjoy whatever freedom we like. Running the marathon, a bucket list right of passage for so many, with the goal of qualifying for Boston, has been there for, literally, millions of runners the world over. But an event like this wants to cow us, and take that freedom away from us.

But we are stronger than that. We deplore the senseless killings of innocents for a goal, any goal, and we will show that we are stronger than you. That our love of that freedom, that our love of something as silly as putting one foot in front of the other is so important to us that it is likely buried in our DNA, that we will not be stopped. That the marathon will not end, that we will not change our lives in fear of terror.

These terrorists, whoever they are, will have gained nothing. Right now, there are dead to bury, and bodies to sew up and heal, and both mourning and a steeling of our spines to not give in to fear. The terrorists have showed us, like many other ways we are tested in this century, how strong we will have to be. The Boston has continued for over 100 years, from before the motor car into the atomic age and, now, into the age of domestic war. And we will continue to run, for as many reasons out there as steps taken, but mostly, likely, for those freedoms. We will run to be free.

Charles Yoakum, Marin Running Company

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