Runners who participated in Monday's Boston Marathon spent months training and envisioning a day of glory and success — a day to remember. Everyone in Boston will likely remember that day forever, but not for the reasons they had hoped. After two deadly explosions near the finish line, Boston saw an act of terror that could forever change large-scale spectator events such as marathons. [embedgallery id=134983]
However, many runners are already vowing to return to Boston to keep the race alive, despite Monday's horrific crime that claimed three lives, including an 8-year-old spectator who was there to watch his father cross the finish line. Many marathoners stood united Tuesday, undeterred that this event, called a "cowardly act" by President Barack Obama, would not change the face of a sport in which so many Americans participate.
Jerry Adriano, of Leewood, Kan., ran the Boston Marathon in 2012 and 2011. His wife was there to cheer him on at the finish line. News of Monday's attack took him back to memories of the race.
"Immediately you think back to running it and you know exactly where those bombs were detonated — and you think about yourself approaching the finish line," Adriano told Metro.
He said the Boston Marathon will still remain in his future plans, despite the attack. "In fact, it probably would make me even more interested in trying to qualify this year, just to have the opportunity to come back and run it to prove we won't be deterred by some terrorist activity." [videoembed id=134930]
Dan Pierce, president of the Erie Triathlon Club in Erie, Penn., has run five marathons, including three Ironman competitions. He told Metro that after Monday's attacks, he has set his sights on the Boston Marathon.
"Yesterday's events would make me more likely to run Boston, specifically next year," Pierce said. "I went for a run today — 45 minutes in a thunderstorm. I thought about the rain, wind and thunder, and how it was just that — rain, wind and thunder. It wasn't tears or blood. I know it didn't make a difference to those hurt yesterday, but it made a difference to me. I wasn't just running, I was standing up to those that do evil."
Caitlin Welsh, a longtime Boston resident and runner, was a spectator Monday at a watch party near mile 23 when the blasts went off. She had been toying with the idea of running the marathon herself and said the attacks have actually made her more committed to the goal.
"After yesterday, I am more determined than ever to run Boston," Welsh said. "I think a lot of people feel the same way. Almost everyone I have spoken with has vowed that this will not keep them away, either from the starting line as a runner or the finish line as a spectator."
But Welsh, like other runners, acknowledged that there will likely be stricter rules and tighter security at large spectator events, like the Boston Marathon, from now on.
"One of the aspects that makes the Boston Marathon the Boston Marathon is its accessibility, with the crowd literally being able to reach out and touch the runners. It's very common for friends of runners to jump in and run a few miles for encouragement, and it would be sad to see traditions like that disappear," Welsh said. "Ultimately, though, I think they will likely crack down on unregistered runners on the course itself, and security along the course will be increased, particularly near the major spectating spots such as Heartbeak Hill and the finish line." [embedgallery id=135450]
Adriano added, "It will heighten preparations and security in races in the future, that is probably certain. At the same time, I don’t think people will stop running or participating in races. I know I certainly won't."
Welsh echoed the sentiment: "Runners are some of the most resilient people on the planet. I don't think the fear of terrorism will keep them from doing what they love, and that's racing."
Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro