Boston Marathon Bombing: An Attack on My People

by Shamala Kandiah Thompson

As part of my job I have to read about terrorist bombings all over the world. So why was I so shaken by this bombing? No one I knew had been hurt.  I thought it was because for the last two years I have been at the exact spot where the bombs went off.  And Paul has crossed that finish line. But it was more than that. This was a direct attack on my people – the runners and the people who support them.

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Runners coming into the finish in last year’s Boston Marathon at about the time the bombs went off this year.

I am both a runner and a spectator. I spend a lot of time running but have also spent hours at numerous finish lines waiting – with camera in hand – for Paul and other friends to come in. I get a thrill from seeing the front runners sprint to the finish. But watching the slower runners in all their various shapes and sizes get to the finish line reminds me that  only by pushing our boundaries do we discover what we really can do.  A marathon celebrates everyone who has pushed their bodies and their spirit to the fullest. No one should mess with that.

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Runners in the 2012 Boston Marathon struggling because of the heat but not giving up.

The running community is still reeling from shock. But I know that it will not deter most runners from racing. And Boston will bounce back.  Not just because it has one of the best marathons in the world. But because Boston is possibly the most runner-friendly town in the world. Several weeks before Paul ran Boston in 2008 we decided to  check out the route. Running along the course that weekend we came across people at tables with cups of water. First we thought there was a race on. There wasn’t. Just normal Bostonians offering refreshments to the runners in their final weeks of training for the Boston Marathon.And on race weekend Boston is one big running town.  Signs of the marathon are everywhere from churches to the T train stations.

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Posters from the 2011 Boston Marathon.

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Every aspect of life in Boston is touched by marathon week-end.

I know my people. The running community will not be cowed by this. It will fight back by racing without fear. As has been well documented in this blog I do not enjoy racing. But this has made even me want to get out there and race. I know it’s unlikely that I will ever qualify for Boston but I have two legs that can run and maybe I need to start putting them into a few more races.

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