Anyone who runs marathons probably get asked this question often, "So, have you run Boston?" It's arguably the most iconic and famous running races in the world. With a 117 year history and a stacked field of fast marathoners, it has become the epitome of competition in the sport.
Runners are not highly paid prima-donnas who live in excess. In fact, to be a professional runner is to live a spartan lifestyle of sacrifice. Very few runners in the world actually get paid enough in the sport to survive on winnings and sponsorships alone. So why target their event?
For those who aren't elites, just running Boston is a lifelong achievement worthy of bragging rights. Many have trained through multiple marathon cycles in order to just qualify for the race, and are simply doing it for the love of the sport or to prove to themselves that they can.
So why bomb the Boston Marathon?
- Yes, it's a high profile event, but it's not nationally televised.
- It took place on Patriot's Day, but why that day instead of July 4th or some other national holiday?
- Most people didn't even realize that the Boston Marathon was even taking place.
Is it possible that they chose this event because of what it represents?
A Symbol of Personal Achievement
The average age in the US for marathon runners is 39. When I tell my friends from other cultures that I compete in endurance events, they can't comprehend why. Why would someone who is over 40 compete, when there's not even a chance to win?
Why is the marathon such a popular sport with over 551,811 finishers in 2011?
I believe that deep down inside of us, no matter how comfortable our lives become, we know the need to sacrifice and suffer in order to grow. We are a nation of people who continue to strive for individual achievement. It's possible that whoever did this disgusting act, chose this event specifically for this reason. Maybe they loathe our ability to dream and accomplish. Maybe they symbolically want to crush that spirit of striving and achieving.
Maybe they chose the Boston Marathon because it represents our best human qualities. If so it's because they hate humanity.
Maybe they chose this event because it represents our freedom as a country. People here are free to set and achieve their own goals without external limits being placed on them. If so, it's because they hate freedom.
If the bombers were targeting the running community, then they chose the wrong group to intimidate. What they forget is that attacks on our community make us stronger and our resolve greater. Our spirit is indomitable. They forget that most of us conquered our fears, and every other monster, the moment we got off the couch to go out for our first run.