Search This Blog

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Future Of Marathons

It has been a few days and Boston is still pulling on our heart strings.  Like many runners, I am grieving for my community, and sitting here thinking...

"What's Next?"  

What is going to become of this sport...This sport that I am just earning the rights to call my own?

I really loved this article from Runner World written by Roger Robinson.  The full article can be found here  but I wanted to share a few excerpts that stood out to me. 

(photo credit

"A Marathon in South Africa was created to commemorate the dead in World War 1. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon affirms life after the bombings in that city in 1995. This very Boston Marathon mourned and honored the school kids who were gunned down a few months ago in Newtown, Connecticut, not far from here. Out of respect for them,  The race was started for the first time in 117 years not with a gun but with an air horn." 

(That line got me all teary eyed- of course)

"Even without that special purpose, marathon running is a sport of goodwill. It's the only sport in the world where if a competitor falls, the others around will pick him or her up. It's the only sport in the world open to absolutely everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or any other division you can think of. It's the only occasion when thousands of people assemble, often in a major city, for a reason that is totally peaceful, healthy and well-meaning. It's the only sport in the world where no one ever boos anybody.
If you're losing your faith in human nature, look at marathon crowds, standing for hours with no seating, no cover, no bathrooms, to cheer thousands of strangers. Or look at our sport's volunteers, on whose shoulders the whole sport rests
Our problem is that this marathon world of goodwill and prelapsarian innocence has made us so vulnerable. Ever since the New York City Marathon went ahead seven weeks after the horror of 9/11, my wife Kathrine Switzer and I have feared exactly what happened today. Our sport is such a great photo-op, and global media coverage is guaranteed. Modern murderers like those things. Kathrine saw the police sniffer dogs at 8 this morning checking the finish area, so the bombs were presumably planted later, by someone who wandered in behind the crowd. How could you stop it?

It's too soon to say where we go from here. The world cross country championships were much weakened by the demands of modern security, meaning they always have to be held on closed circuits instead of across country as they should be. Could we run marathons on safe closed circuits? How could you reconcile that with the essential notion that the marathon is a journey, and a celebration of the community or the environment it passes through? "

(photo credit

In my eyes, what makes a marathon so special is the thousands of people cheering you on along the way.

This is the VERY REASON I chose to run the Vermont City Marathon.  Scribble your name on your shirt and you will have people shouting your name from mile 1 to mile 26.  You will have bagpipers and drummers, kids with sprinklers to run though, neighbors with bananas and gatorade.  While the runners (and volunteers) make the race possible, the crowds and volunteers make the runners possible.  

I dont know what is going to become of this cherished tradition.  But I do know I will keep running.  And I hope you all do too.  

See you at the next start line,

No comments :

Post a Comment

Let's Chat!