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Bits & Pieces: Boston Marathon bombing is a sad sign of the times

I grew up in a different era when you could listen to the sounds of the Boston Marathon on the radio during Patriots Day without hearing the sounds of explosions. I recall cheering for the likes of Johnny Kelley and Bill Rodgers winning for the United States. How I waited for that event every year as a young man in Portland, Maine.

We would scour the race lineup in the Press Herald or Boston Globe and we just couldn't wait for the race to start. Did we ever expect anything or anyone to destroy that moment in any way? It would never happen then. It did happen now though. Times have changed.

When I grew up, we were told not to get involved in matters that didn't concern us.

"Keep your nose out of other peoples' business," we were told.

That has also changed now.

Less than 24 hours after the bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and maiming almost 200 more, the citizens of Watertown and the surrounding areas in Massachusetts got involved with the authorities, which ultimately resulted in the death of one of the bombers and the capture of the second.

What I was told in the 1950s doesn't apply any longer. We all have to get involved. I am not advocating being suspicious of everyone who carries a backpack. I am just reminding all of us that as citizens we have an obligation to be vigilant. The days of not getting involved are over.

Tough Mudding

Last Saturday more than 14,000 "Tough Mudders," including Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, took on a muddy 10-mile course in Gerrardstown, West Virginia.

Johnny Nelson, a former Army paratrooper and an Elkridge resident, heard about Tough Mudder from an old friend in February. Once Nelson, a 1998 Hammond grad, discovered that the proceeds were earmarked for the Wounded Warrior Project, he decided to give it a go.

A day after Tough Mudder, I asked Johnny how it went and if he would do it again.

"It was intense. It was insane," he said. "It was cold and I was up to my waist in mud. I liked the fact that it was people helping other people. Would I do it again? Absolutely."

For his efforts, Nelson received a cold beer at the finish line, and more importantly, a sense of accomplishment.

Editor's note: Tragically, an Ellicott City man — 28-year-old Centennial High School and Towson University grad Avishek Sengupta — lost his life after an accident in the West Virginia Tough Mudder event. To read more about the incident, go to

Athletic Coordinator spot still unfilled

We are still awaiting word on who will succeed Mike Williams as Howard County Coordinator of Athletics. Atholton's Mike Senisi is temporarily assisting until a successor is named.

I have admired the coordinators in the past — Walt Phelan, Don Disney and Mike Williams — and I fully expect the next one to be every bit as good.


Due to a mistake in the editing process, the April 18 Bits & Pieces column mistakenly identified Dave Tripp as the founder of the Howard County Striders. In fact, the Striders were founded in 1977 by a group of runners led by Don Heinicke. Tripp became involved with the group later that year, and became the club's first president in 1979.

We regret the error.

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