Runners show they're Boston Strong
Bostonians call it “Marathon Monday,” an annual event held on Patriots Day when state residents commemorate the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Runners call it a day of determination, of grit, a demonstration of the human spirit.
American Meb Keflezighi and Kenyan Rita Jeptoo won the laurel wreaths for their respective races. South African Ernst Van Dyk won the men’s wheelchair race, and Russian-born Tatyana McFadden the women’s.
But to many, the heart of the race is about the underdogs, the recreational runners. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual 26.2-mile race. Race officials increased the field size to balance the influx and traditional combination of qualifiers and charity runners, as well as accommodating athletes who were prevented from crossing the finish line in 2013.
Two blasts that erupted near the finish line last year on April 15 killed Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu, and injured more than 260 people. The two bombing suspects also allegedly killed Sean Collier, a police officer for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But, as the victims and survivors of last year’s tragedy have demonstrated throughout the past year, Bostonians are strong and resilient. They are “Boston Strong,” a community of camaraderie.
“‘Boston Strong,’ a simple phrase with a not-so-simple meaning, became our uniting call. It symbolizes our communal determination to spread compassion, generosity, unity, and pride,” Patrick Downes, who lost his leg when one of the bombs exploded at the finish line, said last week during the marathon memorial in Boston.
In the days following the bombings, President Barack Obama encouraged the city’s residents to carry on and continue racing.
“And this time next year, on the third Monday in April,” he added, “the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever, and to cheer even louder, for the 118th Boston Marathon. Bet on it.”
And that, they did.