Guest blog by Michael Robertson
It has been truly remarkable seeing the reactions of Bostonians, and non-Bostonians, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The stories of people helping people under the worst of circumstances are countless and inspiring. Everyone is looking for a way to honor those in the bombing and, in many respects, the day itself, but we have got to do it in the right way.
In the rush to put together commemorative events, including running/walking the last 5 miles of the course (which I understand has now been postponed), rerunning the entire Boston Marathon course, and walking in the last mile, I strongly feel that the best of intentions and noblest of thoughts have obscured careful consideration of the reality of the situation we are faced with. As I understand it, the Boston Police Department has asked that these events not take place right now. They are not city-sanctioned and do not have the proper permits. This would be a concern for events of the planned magnitude at any time and it is especially worrying at this time. The investigations are obviously still continuing, there are police officers and soldiers with machine guns lining our streets and guarding our hotels. Let’s not take their focus away from their all-important task by crowding the streets with thousands, or even dozens of people, however well-intentioned they may be.
I’m not saying don’t go out and run/walk. I’m not even saying don’t run as a group. What I am saying is please reconsider any sort of mass activity along the marathon course and certainly in the vicinity of Copley Square. I am 100% certain there will be an event in the near future that has the support of the BPD and the City. Be patient, keep your spirits up and keep supporting each other. The time will come for us all to band together and show our support for the fallen, the wounded, and the thousands who could not cross the finish line on Patriot’s Day. Let’s just make sure that, when that time comes, we do so the right way.
Editor’s Note: The outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragic event is incredible. So many people are mobilizing to show support in a variety of ways and it’s very uplifting to witness it all. As well intentioned as these gatherings on the marathon course are, it’s still just too soon.
We all want swift justice here and the best way to do that is to give the hardworking law enforcement officials their space. Bringing a mass of people into Boston this weekend will be doing just the opposite of that and will most likely further stress an already over-stressed group of people.
The closer one gets to the epicenter of it all, the more caution and consideration that’s needed. There are plenty of other ways to show your support and I hope people will consider those other options, at least until some normalcy returns to Boston.
You can do something as simple as wearing marathon gear, there will be various fundraisers held all over, you can donate online, City Sports is organizing runs, even UMass football has gotten involved and invited runners to finish on their field during a special ceremony.
There’s also going to be a big fundraising running event hosted by the Western Mass Distance Project at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA this Sunday. Details for that will be passed along as they continue to develop, both here and on their own website.
There seems to be some sentiment out there that runs along the Boston course need to happen now to show that the marathon is not dead. I have a problem with that line of thinking. First of all, the marathon can’t be killed. Second of all, people are more motivated for it now than ever, which means it’s more alive than ever. The marathon is a special distance that requires a lot of respect, so the best way to show that the marathon isn’t dead is to respect the race: put your nose to the grindstone and get out there and make Boston 2014 your mission. By steering clear of Boston (specifically Back Bay) we’d be showing law enforcement some respect, while also still paying tribute to those affected.
Thank you for being active and showing your support, but please be considerate of all the elements involved.