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A Brotherhood Of Runners
By Harry Kirsbaum
he images from Boston are seared
in my memory. The white smoke,
the blood on the sidewalk among
the debris. The wounded lying there,
surrounded by doctors and EMTs.
The death toll has risen to three, and
the wounded are numbered at more
than 180, at seven days after this act of
The explosions happened about
two hours after the winner, Lelissa De-
sisa of Ethiopia, crossed the finish line
at 2:10:23. Women's elite runner Rita
Jeptoo of Kenya crossed in 2:26:10.
On a typical Boston Marathon day,
the race wouldn't be about Desisa or
Jeptoo. It never is. It's about the other
23,000 runners who train hard enough
and are determined enough to qualify
in their age groups to run Boston.
Boston is a celebration for them. The
hard work is getting there.
I've been running since 1984, and
ran the Detroit and Chicago Mara-
thons. But I know I'll never qualify for
Boston. I just don't have the talent.
Those runners crossing the finish
line at just over four hours, when the
carnage began, had run much faster
in another marathon to qualify. Each
of the 23,000 runners should consider
themselves elite. They are the people
you see running on the street in
weather that most people won't want
to drive in.They are the ones on the
treadmill when you arrive at the health
club and are still there when you leave.
They are the ones who run longer and
faster than you at your weekly run at
your local running store. They will not
Runners have personal reasons for
running marathons. You train. You run.
You get a Finisher's Medal and you go
home. It's pretty simple. To them.
But to make it to Boston is a great
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing
heroic about training for a marathon
compared to the heroism shown by
those in the crowd who stayed to help
the injured. I'm only saying that almost
nothing will stop them from training,
and they will train even harder for next
year's Boston Marathon.
To those who think the number of
Aftermath of the 2013
Boston marathon bombin
showing people hel
others from the scen
runners will shrink next year in Boston,
or this year in New York, or Chicago, or
Detroit, you are obviously not a runner.
Americans across the country might
stand in solidarity with the people of
Boston, but the running community
will run for them.
One day after the attack, thousands
of runners across the country con-
nected though social media to stage
impromptu runs to show support
for Boston. And they will show up in
support at running events across the
country in record numbers.
There is no way to protect and seal
off 26.2 miles of roadway against a
terrorist threat for a race that handles
thousands of runners, and there is no
reason to do so. Marathoners don't
easily get intimidated. They just get
pissed and run faster.
Two Russian-born Chechen brothers
have been linked to this heinous act.
On Friday morning,
one of the brothers died
after having killed a
campus police officer at
MIT, hijacked a SUV and
led police on a chase.
The other brother, who
eluded police, was
taken alive after a daylong manhunt
that brought Boston to a standstill.
He's under arrest while being treated
at a Boston hopsital.
These two men have no cause, they
have no heart and they have no guts.
In a perfect world, we'd never hear
anything at all about them.
In a perfect world, they would never
have existed at all, and last Monday
evening, an 8-year-old boy would have
rooted for his father to finish a mara-
thon and gone home with his family. A
Chinese-born graduate student would
have returned to Boston University to
finish her master's degree. A waitress
would have returned to her job in
Arlington, and more than 180 people
who were injured would simply have
Violent acts have no purpose — and
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