There’s a difference between being injured and being wounded. Wounds are inflicted; injuries occur.
Two bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon left three dead and some 100 WOUNDED, not injured, including a number listed in critical and serious condition.
Marathoners are no strangers to injury. Pulled muscles, torn tendons and ligaments, dehydration – it’s not a sport for the faint-hearted. But none of the 27,000 runners in today’s race took his or her place on the starting line expecting a terror attack.
The Boston Marathon, one of the world’s legendary marathon races, isn’t open to just anyone who wants to run. For many years, to limit the size of the field, the race has established a strict rubric of qualifying times based on age and gender, and was one of the first events to do so. This means that for many marathoners, running Boston is a goal they might train for years to see come true.
This year, many saw that vision blasted to bits. The bombs went off at about 3pm, a detail that is significant. The elite and strongest amateur runners had already completed the course; the runners who had yet to cross the finish line most likely included several who were running Boston for the very first time after putting in months and years of training.
As of 3pm Pacific Time (I’m writing from Los Angeles), no group had yet claimed responsibility for the attack, perpetrated by explosive devices that detonated near the marathon finish line on Boylston St. As could be expected at a world-class sports event, news crews were out in force, and the explosion itself, as well as the ensuing chaos, was captured in real time. Some of the runners nearing the finish were thrown to the ground by the force of the explosion. Others scattered, as did most of the spectators.
The world’s oldest and most hallowed marathon race, held this year for the 117th time, is now scarred by terror. Everyone who ran the race and finished safely, as well as those who were temporarily or permanently incapacitated by the violence, will remember the day less as one of athletic achievement and camaraderie than as a day marked by terror.
And sadly, it seems that terror – notwithstanding President Barack Obama’s reluctance to declare the events as a “terror attack” – seems to be working. There are already rumors that this coming weekend’s London Marathon might be cancelled, a decision that would be a catastrophic mistake. Training for a marathon is about toughness, resilience, and sheer force of will in the face of difficulty. Tens of thousands of runners overcame pain and discomfort to run the Boston Marathon. Many more plan to run in London. Don’t let the terrorists blast their dream.