Patriot’s Day, also called Marathon Day, in Massachusetts on April 15, 2013 started out to be a perfect day. It was 47 degrees, and partly cloudy with a 2 mph breeze. The temperature later rose into the mid 50’s. The Red Sox had a morning game and 27,000 joyous runners started out from Hopkinton without a clue as to what would happen later that day. The elite women began at 9:30 and went out at a very slow pace, turning it into a “tactical” race. One woman, Yolanda Callararo led for most of the early race. Then Ann Dolce Felix from Portugal led for about 10 miles. But in the end, the Africans dominated. Rita Jeptoo from Kenya won in 2:26:24 followed by an Ethiopian and another Kenyan. However, Shalane Flannagan from the US finished fourth in 2:27:08 and another American Kara Goucher finished a few seconds behind her in 6th. The men’s race started at 10AM and again went out at a slow pace. Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa won in 2:10:22 followed by a Kenyan and another Ethiopian. Jason Hartman of the US finished fourth in 2:12:10. There were a total of 92 countries represented in the field.
The TV coverage was on WBZ and USN networks, but unfortunately they are not carried in WNY, so I was watching a streaming video on the Internet. On that feed, the Finish Line clock read 4:09:52 when all of a sudden, an explosion went off right near the Finish Line. Then another explosion happened a few seconds later down one block. It was madness. By now, everybody has seen the pictures and is aware of the devastation. As of my writing this article, four innocent lives are gone, including a young child. And at least 20 more are in Intensive Care. Another 175 spectators/runners went to the hospital. Even though there were a ton of medical people on the scene within seconds, the damage was extensive. The bombs had been filled with all kinds of shrapnel in order to inflict the most damage. Everyone across the country, especially runners, felt an immediate horror and sadness for all those involved. It’s hard to imagine the extreme hatred that some people have against happy-go-lucky runners and spectators in a prestigious race like Boston. Five days after the bombing, one suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev (26) was killed by police and the other suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (19) was seriously injured. They are Chetznian brothers, the younger one being an American citizen, and apparently were protesting American meddling in Muslim affairs in Eastern Europe. It’s just sickening to think about. Obviously, all of our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the tragedy.
On Sunday, April 21st, Julia Burke, a local runner, organized a Boston Marathon Solidarity Run in Delaware Park. Over a thousand runners showed up and raised over $3,000 to help out the needy from the bombing. The One Fund Boston currently has over 21 million dollars to help out those affected. Everyone in the country is devastated by what those two young men did, not only to the Marathon, but to all of America.