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 second installment of a twelve part series. Two responses are within, one from Tom Derderian, president of USATF-NE and one from Nich Haber, founder and president of the New England Distance Project.
Like nearly everyone touched by the bombings at the finish of the Boston Marathon we are shocked, angered, and sad. We are shocked because we are the governing body of sport, recreation, and essentially, play. People compete in the marathon and follow the race as something aside from the horrors of the world but are now part of those enormities. We are angry because people have been hurt and murdered for reasons that cannot possibly justify the crimes, and we are sad because of the pain and loss in our community. Most officers and employees of USATF-NE were at the marathon. Some worked as volunteers at the finish line so were quite close to the explosions. Others were racing or watching. We are relieved that none were hurt. At USATF we have held safety in the utmost importance in conducting events when we issue sanctions. As we wish the best recovery to those injured and their families we will spend the coming months thinking hard about how to make our sports the safe and joyous events they are intended to be.
—Tom Derderian, President of USATF-NE
My heart goes out to the victims and their families. The marathon is personal. Everyone who connects with it has a personal experience with the event. It was what rescued New York City back in 2001 and reminded everyone what was important: How we individually strive to be our best. How we can collectively bring out the best in each other. How people from all over the world can come together and celebrate life. How we can get inspired watching others do something simple and beautiful.
Yesterday was an attack, not just on these ideas, but on the actual way we prove these concepts are valuable. I have no doubts that the person or people who did this will be caught. I hope it is soon.
I am upset that the marathon as I know it will forever be changed and be linked to violent craziness. Not sure what else to do right now, so I guess I’ll go for a run.
—Nich Haber, founder of NE Distance