The Boston Marathon is so much more than one of the world's foremost endurance tests. It is one of the most egalitarian of events, too, attracting the sport's most elite athletes but also runners from all walks of life and all ages. After Monday's bombings at the marathon, many in the crowd also ran — toward the danger to help runners and spectators who were injured in the explosions. A legendary race best known for its intense physical challenges is now also remembered for its selfless humanity in the face of evil.
It takes a special commitment to take on a grueling 26.2-mile race. Some 23,000 runners had accepted the test of conquering Boston's hilly contours only to have their sense of accomplishment shattered by violence that left three people dead, including an 8-year-old boy. More than 170 runners and fans were hurt.
The courageous reaction of Boston's residents, visitors and athletes to care for one another alongside emergency personnel was inspiring but not surprising. At the nation's founding 237 years ago, Boston was at the epicenter of the resistance to the forces of oppression, tyranny and fear. Just as the country came together after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, so too, when the 2014 Boston Marathon is held the city will come together to compete in the memory of those who came so close to the finish line and to honor a city's spirit unbroken by cowards in the shadows.