I spent a good amount of time sitting on my couch, watching the news coverage of what happened near the finish line at the Boston Marathon yesterday… pretty much incredulous. Partly because I’m scheduled to speak in Boston in a few days and was wondering if the perpetual discovering of bombs would risk the safety of the colleges I would be speaking to, but also because… I mean, come on. Bombs.
In case you don’t know… this happened:
Two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, killing three people, including an 8-year-old child, and injuring more than 100, as one of this city’s most cherished rites of spring was transformed from a scene of cheers and sweaty triumph to one of screams and carnage.
Almost three-quarters of the 23,000 runners who participated in the race had already crossed the finish line when a bomb that had apparently been placed in a garbage can exploded around 2:50 p.m. in a haze of smoke amid a crowd of spectators on Boylston Street, just off Copley Square in the heart of the city. Thirteen seconds later, another bomb exploded several hundred feet away.
Pandemonium erupted as panicked runners and spectators scattered, and rescue workers rushed in to care for the dozens of maimed and injured, some of whom lost legs in the blast, witnesses said. The F.B.I. took the lead role in the investigation on Monday night, and Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the bureau’s Boston office, described the inquiry at a news conference as “a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.”
The reverberations were felt far outside the city, with officials in New York and Washington stepping up security at important locations. Near the White House, the Secret Service cordoned off Pennsylvania Avenue out of what one official described as “an abundance of caution.”
President Obama, speaking at the White House, vowed to bring those responsible for the blasts to justice. “We will get to the bottom of this,” the president said. “We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.” [source]
This is exceptionally frustrating to me, because the ages of the victims of this bull have started rolling out, with children as young as 4 suffering injuries from this.
It’s really easy to look at situations like this as adults who can say, “You can’t stop doing what you’d normally do any day! That’s how you let ‘the terrorists’ win!” But as parents, we are tasked with making big changes to accommodate our children’s well being and safety. Having our understanding of “safe spaces” and “family spaces” breached is jarring. There’s a combination of anger, sadness, and confusion, here.
My focusing on this from the perspective of “parent” doesn’t imply that this is the most important takeaway, at all. It’s just the only thing that I can actually express… with words. Right now.
There’s also this:
I’m sure that we’ve all seen the video of the first explosion, near the finish line, that sent one of the runners to his knees, yes?
You’ll be happy to know that that runner completed his race.
For Bill Iffrig, whether to finish the race was not a question.
The 78-year-old Lake Stevens man got knocked to the ground 15 feet from the finish line by the first explosion in a moment documented by a photograph that quickly went viral.
“The force from it just turned my whole body to jelly, and I went down,” said Iffrig, noting that nothing actually hit him.
“I thought, ‘This is probably it for me.’”
But when Iffrig rolled over and realized he had only a scraped knee, he knew he had to finish.
“Somebody came by with a wheelchair, but I said, ‘I’m fine.’ I wanted to finish,” said Iffrig, a retired carpenter and well-known Club Northwest running club member participating in his 45th marathon, including his third in Boston.
The U.S. Track and Field website lists him as one of the nation’s top masters long-distance road runners for his age category. On Monday, he finished fourth among men ages 75-79, according to the Boston Marathon website.
With sirens sounding all around him, Iffrig kept walking to downtown Boston’s Park Plaza hotel to find his wife, Donna. The two met on a blind date and got married 58 years ago, Iffrig said. They’ve been living in the same Lake Stevens house for 50 years, Iffrig said.
“We’re not quitters,” he said.
Iffrig and his wife spoke by phone from their hotel later in the day. Iffrig said his ears were still ringing, but the couple was glad nothing worse happened.
“I was really lucky,” Iffrig said. “If I’d been any closer at all to that thing, I wouldn’t have made it.” [source]
What are you girls thinking and feeling? To those of us who race, will you race again? Why or why not?