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Last updated: August 25. 2013 4:30AM - 90 Views

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By LANE FILLER



Newsday



If you want to understand the nature of the United States, how we respond to attacks and how unwilling we are to back down from terrorism, look not at this yearís Boston Marathon, but to next yearís.



Iím willing to bet the 2014 running of the nationís oldest and most-revered 26.2-mile footrace will not just break but smash its own record for the number of Americans who apply for a slot. International runners, too, will clamor to be a part of the next race, which will be held on the next Patriots Day, to celebrate the meaning of freedom and the lives stolen and damaged this week.



Monday, as the carnage unfolded and the news announcers intoned, interspersed with my raging desire to destroy the culprits with my bare hands, was one thought: ďóthem, Iím running Boston next year.Ē



I bet a lot of people, from dedicated racers to confirmed couch potatoes, had that feeling.



We should all run Boston next year, because we donít let killers win.



We should all run Boston next year, because terrorism cannot triumph.



Iíve always respected that running Boston means being a quality marathoner. But next year, just this once, the organizers ought to add starting flights for which the qualifying time is suspended. Everyone who wants to should be able to do those 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boylston Street. I picture cops from every state securing the route, and participants from every walk of life, crossing the finish line.



I imagine hundreds of thousands, even millions, accomplishing this feat, a race that lasts 24 hours or 48 or 72, honoring those attacked Monday and shaming those who would launch such attacks.



We should make a point even violent fools blinded by hatred can understand. We should all run Boston next year.



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