Originally printed in the East Dallas Advocate Online Magazine.
A year after the terroristic and deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon, members of the White Rock Running Co-op say they are grateful to be returning to the 2014 race.
Lochwood resident James Ayers had departed the race grounds an hour or so before hell broke loose last year.
He left Boston last year grateful for he and his wife Amber’s safety (she was waiting for him near the finish line), impressed by Boston’s swift resilience and determined to return. But, like the rest of the day’s marathoners, bafflement and depression trumped a wide range of other feelings.
A sub-three hour marathoner, James handily qualified for the 2014 marathon, and the couple decided returning to this year’s race would be a privilege.
“Being a part of this year’s race is important to me because of its significance. This particular race seems to epitomize overcoming adversity. The belief that we press forward in life despite difficult situations and circumstances is something that is important to me,” Ayers says. “To see the way the city came together after last year’s horrific events was incredible. I don’t doubt that this year’s race and the events that surround it during Patriot’s day will serve as another chance for the city to move on and become stronger. It will be a special day for the city and one that I am very proud to be a part of.”
He adds that he thinks this year’s race will be about as safe as it possibly can be.
“I think there is always going to be some small worry with any large public event, and I’m sure that Boston probably won’t be the last time we see a tragedy like last year. But what can you do? Unfortunately it is the world we live in today.
Marathon organizers have taken major measures, such as prohibiting all bags and adding checkpoint screenings. Instead of tightening the race, however, they increased the field by some 9,000 runners. That means this will be the biggest Boston Marathon with the exception of 1996 when they allowed more than 36,000 runners in honor of the event’s 100th birthday.
Preston Hollow resident and WRRC member Ann Marie Brink ran her first Boston Marathon last year and was back in her hotel room before the blast.
This year she’s back and her husband Greg Brink will be cheering her on.
“Running the race after last year’s events is an honor,” she says. “I hope that by running, cheering, and volunteering we can all help the city of Boston reclaim Patriot’s Day as the celebration that it has traditionally been. The fact that it will happen the day after Easter lends even more weight to the idea of renewal and rebirth.”
Full disclosure (or am I just bragging): I also am a member of the WRRC will be running the Boston Marathon Monday.