Boston Marathon Memorials Part IV: Harold Shaw

As we prepare for the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy, Level Renner is re-releasing the memorials and reflections of the running community written one year ago in the wake of the 117th running (these letters from readers were originally published in our May/June 2013 issue). Our intention is to pay proper respect and tribute to the events of last year’s race. We want nothing more than to handle the tragedy with appropriateness and tact. Because we see ourselves as an open platform for runners, this series is an expression of our audience’s thoughts from a year ago.  Thus, in the following pages, you will find an array of responses.  Some are angry, some are numb, most are just plain sad.  But some offer hope. Most show the strength and resolve of our community. The goal of this series is to remember and pay proper respect to the horrific events of April 15, 2013.  We will release one post per day in this series in the days leading up to the marathon.

Below is the fourth installment of a twelve part series. This reflection was written by Harold Shaw.

This is not the post I want to write today, but it is the one that I will. When I am stressed, I write. It helps me sort things out and helps me get through what is going on, that is all this post is about.


After what happened in Boston today:

There are villains - who they are yet, we do not know, but we will and those who speak out to support these despicable acts are and will be considered our enemies. There were victims - people died, others were maimed or injured.  There were heroes - the emergency responders, volunteers, and the runners. There will be recriminations and finger-pointing on what we should have, could have, or would have done. Instead think about what we need to do.

Yes, I am sickened and saddened by the senseless violence against the innocents at the Boston Marathon today. However, the aim of this terrorist act, because that is what I believe it was, is to have us change how we live, view our world and have us believe that we are not safe, wherever we are.

I had originally planned on being in Boston today, so I could watch several people that I know finish the marathon, but at the last minute I changed my mind. Instead I stayed home, watched the start, got very motivated by it and ran 10 miles at a comfortably hard pace on the Rail Trail. When I got back home, I watched more of the race on the live stream. Then all hell broke loose on Twitter and I turned on the TV to find out what was going.

photo by EJN

photo by EJN

The horrific events on the television screen transfixed me as I followed my Twitter feed. I couldn’t look away. I was scared, angry, and more than a few tears were shed for the innocence we lost in the running community today.

When my wife got home we talked and hugged for a while and then she asked me if I still planned to run the Marine Corps Marathon?  I quietly answered. “I have to.”  You have to remember she is very worried and more than a little scared, “Is it worth dying for?”  I simply said, “Yes.”  We talked more, but I have to explain why I said this.  If I allow what happened in Boston to change my plans to run the Marine Corps Marathon, then the bastards who did this despicable act will have won. I refuse to let them win.

It really is that simple.  I will continue to train and prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon and be there ready to run when it starts on October 27th and I will do my damnedest to qualify for Boston that day.

This is my way of honoring those who were at Boston today, not letting the bastards win.  We runners are a resilient bunch and we won’t stop.  This post isn’t about me; it is to remember the events of this day.

—Harold L. Shaw


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