Respecting the Boston Marathon

6 Jun

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last couple of months, you have heard of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 2013…the day of the 117th Boston Marathon. Like many of you, I struggled to even find the words to express how I felt about what was unfolding that day. I still have difficulty even wrapping my brain around all of it. I mean, what kind of people would do this? To marathon runners? Why? How?

The Boston Marathon is the one race that, for me, if I were ever able to qualify for it, would basically be the equivalent of making it to the Olympics. Even if I qualified…and ran…and finished dead last…I would be “the world’s greatest” in my own mind. And then April 15th happened. And then the one event that has topped my race bucket list for the last 8 years….seemed scary…and tainted. All of a sudden, staying closer to home and continuing to run “small town” events (though lacking the prestige and fanfare) seemed so much more secure and reliable. I let thoughts that I never thought I would think (Does that make sense?) run through my mind…”I mean, is the Boston Marathon really THAT big of a deal? Do I really want to keep running large events where stuff like this can happen? Should this really be my end-all-be-all pursuit?” For a while, I just let those thoughts marinate.

After the bombings, every news channel and media outlet was clamoring to get the “goods” on the story. Although some efforts were being made to tell the stories of the victims, survivors, runners, first responders, and spectators, a shift was made more quickly into covering these guys (I did not even want to type their names). How did they do it? What was their plan? Were they terrorists? Where were they from? And on, and on, and on…

Upon receiving the June issue, many readers were surprised that it did not cover the Boston Marathon, and, in fact, it made no mention of the race whatsoever. As explained by this post by David Willey, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World, much of the editorial content for the June issue had been finalized and the issue was already in production. Runner’s World committed to dedicate their July issue to covering the Boston Marathon. Yesterday, the tablet edition of the July issue was released and I was so pleased with the way the event was covered.

Very few publications have reported the stories from what I would consider “my perspective”, that of a runner. Runner’s World is one of those publications that I feel has handled the media aftermath of the bombings in the very best way. Yes, they reported the details of that day, but they also told the stories of people who were stopped at Mile 25, people who had been out there cheering for a loved one, people who were trying to connect with their friends or family members. I don’t know, maybe I just see so much bad stuff on the news that I have become numb or detached from it, but the way Runner’s World covered the events of April 15th kept the “human element” at the forefront. These people are so relatable. These people they reported on could be my friends, my running buddies, people in my running club.

Runner’s World – July 2013 Cover Art. (Photo courtesty of Runner’s World)

I have been a subscriber to Runner’s World for the last six years and this is the first cover that I can recall without a runner on it. Usually the covers are graced with images of runners (celebrities or not) sporting perfect form, the hippest gear, and a smile on their faces. This cover couldn’t have been more different. The Boston Marathon medal is an icon, and displaying it in this way communicates respect, honor, reverence, and solidarity for this race and our community. Reading about and understanding the creative process that went into achieving this cover image was truly fascinating. I highly encourage to take the time to read about it here. The minimal nature of its design allows the image to fully impact the reader, and I like that.

For the April 1996 issue of Runner’s World, the 100th Boston Marathon medal was prominently highlighted on its cover. For this issue, showing the medal on its own seems like a most appropriate and respectful “hat tip” to a race that has meant so much to the sport of running and to the history of Runner’s World. Though the messages of both covers are different, you cannot deny the power in these images.


After having some time to let the shock dissipate and reading this issue, I plan on letting the Boston Marathon continue to rest in the #1 spot on my Race Bucket List. Reading the articles of runners who will persevere and make our running community stronger than ever gives me hope. I admire the way so many runners, running clubs, running brands, etc. have banded together to show strength and unity. In the future, I’ll make more of an effort not to take racing for granted and maybe I will be a little more careful and aware at ALL events I run, whether local or national or whether I’m racing with hundreds of runners or with thousands.

(The July issue of Runner’s World was available on tablets yesterday and will hit newsstands on July 11. If you have a subscription, you should be receiving it this week.)

If you would like to support The One Fund in their fundraising efforts to provide financial aid and support to victims of the bombings, please click here.

If you would like to show your support for The One Fund in your local communities, please consider purchasing and wearing a silicone support band from Go Sport ID. 100% of all proceeds from the sale of this bracelet go directly to The One Fund and support their fundraising efforts.

How were YOU affected by the Boston Marathon bombings? Were you there? How did it make you feel?

7 Responses to “Respecting the Boston Marathon”

  1. katielookingforward at 8:57 AM #

    Love your post. For me boston isn’t something I think I will achieve, that doesn’t mean I won’t ever go and watch, maybe volunteer at it or something (i have no idea if that is even possible) but for me after the bombing the race is even more sacred I feel like I’m not worthy to run such an important race. I’m not a subscriber to runner’s world, but I will make sure to go get a copy when its available on newsstands!

    • katieRUNSthis at 9:03 AM #

      Thanks! I sort of feel the same way. I mean, I’m not speedy at all. Perhaps I will get there EVENTUALLY…like when I’m 80…provided I can run the same pace THEN as I can NOW. 🙂 I’m with you though, I feel like it’s where I would go to get inspired. I would definitely want to go an spectate one year just to soak it all up.

  2. snarkatussin at 9:00 AM #

    Glad to see you have put Boston back atop the Bucket List! It’s a great marathon and the crowd energy is unreal. This year, my fiance ran the marathon and was one of the runners stopped just short of the finish line. My brother and I were a few blocks away. We are looking forward to cheering him to the finish next year, as he already is planning to run it again!

    • katieRUNSthis at 9:04 AM #

      It is so good to see that your fiancé plans to run again next year. Even better to hear that y’all are all okay! I can’t imagine how scary and hectic and crazy those minutes after the bombing must have felt. I mean, I just can’t imagine. If you thought the energy at this year’s event was overwhelming, just imagine what it will be like next year!

      • snarkatussin at 9:07 AM #

        Next year will be amazing. I’ve watched the marathon each year since moving to Boston. It’s like nothing else. I’ve run small races and am excited by energy during those but Boston is… well, it’s Boston. Patriots Day is a state-holiday and people just line the streets. There’s nothing else like it 🙂

  3. This was a great post – my RW copy is sitting in my mailbox and I get to read it on my flight tonight. I’m looking forward to the pieces – and anticipating lots of tissues.

  4. Karen :0) at 1:13 PM #

    I had friends running the Boston marathon but wasnt there myself. So incredibly scary! Can’t wait for this RW issue to arrive!

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