The Power of the Strong: Thoughts from the Endurance Community on the Boston Bombing


I was in the midst of writing this blog yesterday when the news of the Boston Marathon bombs flooded my social media feeds. The impact of this senseless and cowardly act resonates strongly within the Elevation Outdoors community. Many of us are runners – or triathletes, or cyclists, or adventure racers. We know what it’s like to put in hours of training while juggling jobs, school and families. When not participating ourselves, we’ve cheered our friends on as they crossed finish lines and reveled in the retelling over a cold beer.

I’ve grown to appreciate the structure and electricity that comes with being a part of endurance events. The camaraderie and atmosphere is addicting. Nearly all of us who participate aren’t in it to win it. We are fighting our own battles to better ourselves within a neatly competitive context. Maybe it’s chasing down the guy who seems just a step faster or shaving a few minutes off our own personal best times. Often it’s just finishing the damn thing. We share in the journey with our fellow participants and momentarily indulge in a wonderfully focused few hours before plunging back into the mundane trappings of day to day life. We pin those race bibs on, harden our resolve and get it done.

The literal and figurative transformation we experience give nobility to such events. A marathon is a cumulative victory drawn out over months of hard training. The finish line is validation. The entire process is a spiritual pilgrimage that syncs mind and body.

Enter the deviance of whatever misguided, callous and cowardly person orchestrated the unspeakable deed. It is a sad reality of human nature that rogue elements exist in the empty hearts of certain individuals, something dark that dissolves control and disarms the conscience. The joyful spirit and public exuberance of a marathon setting is a coward’s playground. Wave after wave of strong people, supported by friends, family and complete strangers, a seemingly endless line of human triumph – yeah, I can see how that would infuriate a coward. And in the style of those countless villains who try to cripple the human spirit through acts of violence, the attack was directed at the strong and the bold.

The savagery of the attack is unforgivable and the loss of life is devastating. Nothing can be done for the innocent victims who were unjustly swept up in the mad whim of a truly evil individual. Yet, through the tears and the horror, the bonds of the decent and the strong remain unbroken. As a community, we aim to ease the suffering of those who lost so much and to mend broken hearts. We will continue to run, in defiance of those who wish to intimidate the strong, just like we’ve always run to defy the weaknesses within ourselves.

Witnessing the heroism and unity in the aftermath of the Boston bombings reminds us that courage and dignity heartily outweigh the deplorable. Because we dare to run and dare to better ourselves, there remains hope that what we build along the way is indestructible.     –JAMES DZIEZYNSKI

<<EDITOR’S NOTE: Lots of other friends in the endurance sport and running communities are writing on the importance of what we love right now and we wanted to share those thoughts here as a gesture of solidarity. At Competitor/ESPN.COM Brian Metzler says:

“Even if you weren’t in Boston, have never run Boston or aren’t a marathoner. Run easy. Run hard. Run short. Run long. Run alone. Run with a group. Just run. The familiar feelings of running — even the fatigue and achiness — will help each of us return to normalcy, even if it is a decidedly new normal.”

Read Metzler’s story HERE.

And at ActiveGearReview .com, Kevin Fonger has this to say:

“Out of all the people who terrorist can attack, one of the last people they should have known to attack is a runner.  Runners are determined individuals and they generally think and act with a clear mind.  99% of them will not react in haste, but  they will take this senseless act and use it as motivation to do good for society.  After all, runners raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year for causes and charities for people who many of them don’t know.”

Read the whole story HERE.

The message? This is a strong community that will only grow stronger.>>

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