What happened following the Boston Marathon bombings probably surprised those who detonated two explosives near the finish line on Monday.
The Boston Marathon was rocked by two bombs placed by a coward near the finish line.
For most marathoners the run is not about having a faster time than the other competitors, but about proving something to yourself. It's a race about personal strength, determination and proving that you can attain whatever goal you set for yourself.
Personally, I've run three marathons, but I didn't come close to running fast enough to qualify for Boston.
In May 2011 I ran the Cleveland Marathon along Lake Erie in cold, wet weather. Despite the raw weather conditions, fans and fellow racers encouraged each other and celebrated the thousands of personal victories. It's difficult to believe that someone would pay to run 26 miles, but the personal feeling of accomplishment is worth more than the entry fee.
The race is more about the mind than the ability of the body. God created our bodies to handle enormous amounts of work. With proper training, runners can handle much larger events than a marathon. The key is allowing our minds to focus on the goal and convincing our bodies that the sacrifice is worth the prize.
At the end of the race, finishers realize it wasn't luck or happenstance. It was a plan that came together with training and plenty of hard work and family support.
When you think about the requirements to finish a race like the Boston Marathon, the efforts to subdue the human spirit with a bombing will not work.
The thought that an assault on humanity would end these types of events is absurd. What the attack is doing is revealing the strength of the human spirit to survive and grow stronger. Already, more races are being planned and tributes to Boston are underway. The marathon brings out an individual's strength and fortitude. Those who are up to the challenge of training and meeting the rigors of running more than 26 miles will not be deterred by cowards.
Yes, runners do compete against each other. But on another scale they want to support and encourage others to experience the power and mental wellness that running provides.
The terrorist who unleashed those bombs Monday caught the world by surprise. However, the resilience and fortitude that running provides, will only grow stronger next year. The human spirit will not be deterred.
(Brian Whipkey is the Daily American's editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @Whipkeydailyam.)