Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ALWAYS BOSTON STRONG

The frosty glass of Guinness tasted particularly good.

After a long, arduous walk, which was more like a shuffle, my blister-covered feet bore blood stains around the baby toes. Although my gear bag was filled with nearly everything, I had forgotten to pack an extra pair of shoes.

My wife and I landed at a Legal Sea Foods restaurant, located in the Lord and Taylor Mall at the Prudential Center on Boylston Street.

After an epic failure at the 2012 Boston Marathon, when temperatures in the 80s forced me to drop out at mile 18, we were prepared to celebrate sweet vindication after I crossed the finish line in a time of 3:04:13, It was about 2:45 p.m. on April 15, 2013.

My 16th Boston Marathon did not disappoint.

From the time we entered the city on Saturday, Bostonians continued their tradition of treating runners like rock stars. Proudly displaying that finishing medal after the race serves as a badge of adulation.

My wife posted a picture on Facebook of my glass of Guinness beer, now half full, foam clinging to the sides, with the words, "A great day at Boston."

As our waitress tapped another beer, a sound, like a blast from a cannon, shook the building. Calmly, the waitress asked, "Was that thunder?"

My reply was, "No, it's beautiful outside."

At 2:49 p.m., the first pressure cooker bomb, created, delivered, and detonated by Tamerlin and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, exploded near the finish line. 12 seconds later, a second bomb spewed shrapnel a mere 210 yards away.

Joy turned to terror. In a senseless, heinous act, 3 people were killed, and 264 others were injured.

The rest of the day remains somewhat of a blur to me two years later. I devoted the first chapter of my book, "Personal Best" to the events of that day, and I titled it, "Was That Thunder?"

Few runners are filled with hatred.

On the contrary, we can be fiercely competitive. But take it from one who has been doing this for a long time, some of the greatest friendships of my life have come to me through the sport of running.

Hatred and evil attempted to spoil an event that celebrated determination, accomplishment and pure joy.

Hatred lost!

Hatred failed!

One of the perpetrators is dead. The other will never experience freedom, the very reason his family immigrated to America, again. He may well receive the death penalty.

Meanwhile, runners everywhere rallied, raising money for the bombing victims.

Jeff Bauman, after having both legs amputated, helped police identify one of the bombers.

Extraordinary stories of courage abound, as bombing victims attempt to forge ahead with their lives, thumbing their noses at those who tried to destroy them.

On Patriot's Day 2014, runners, some of whom were unable to complete the 2013 race when the bombing occurred, celebrated yet another Boston Marathon.

Next Monday, they will do the same, for the 119th time.

In this world, in the end, good will always triumph over evil.

Determined human beings will always defeat adversity.

Strength will conquer weakness.

We will always remain Boston Strong.