The Good That Created The Boston Marathon Will Overpower The Horror That Raised Its Head Yesterday

April 16, 2013


I don’t write about it very often here, but I love running.  I genuinely love it.  I love what it does for me, sure – physically and mentally (my wife compares, rightly, the change in my mental energy after a run to how the dogs are after a big, long hike) – but I just think it’s fun.  I’m not the fastest or most hardcore, but I get excited for those days when I can just go fly for a couple hours.

263851-boston-marathon-2012I’ve done a couple half-marathons, but never a marathon;  whenever I read about the Boston Marathon, though, I dream of doing it.  It is, in many ways, the race.  A city-wide, loving celebration of running.  People describe it as being like a 26.2-mile victory lap (well, okay, maybe not Heartbreak Hill but the rest of it). Kisses from co-eds as you pass Wellesley College.  Constant cheers.  Bands playing. You’re warned that you have to be careful or your hand will hurt from so many high-fives.

And if you’ve ever been in or to a distance race, you know the cheers are as sincere for the last person as they are for the first.  They’re just incredibly positive and affirming.

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” – Katherine Switzer

It’s profoundly sad what happened in Boston.  And while part of me wants to know why, most of me doesn’t particularly care.  There is no answer that makes it make sense.  Why?  Because some stupid, crazy fuck’s soul got twisted into a nightmare through chemistry or abuse.  That’s why.  The bombs (if that’s what they were) went off 4 hours and 9 minutes after the race started – 4 hours is a pretty average finish time.  The busiest time at the finish line.

tlumacki_boston-marathon-_sportsJAnd it’s hard not to fixate on all that’s wrong about this – what is says about humanity.  And the tragedies are terrible.  But marathon’s are all about what’s right about humanity, and we shouldn’t ignore the deeply moving beauty of people that emerged amidst this horror.

As so many have noted, within seconds of the blast, hundreds of people ran toward the carnage to help, not away.  And when people realized what had happened, they literally tore down the metal barrier that separates spectators from runners, in order to get to those hurt.

Social media erupted with the spread of resources and counsel. At least in what I saw, I’d say links and information for those affected outnumbered online rubber-necking and leering at carnage 10 to 1.

The stories of people helping strangers – bearing in mind that many of these people helping others had just run 26 miles – are already too many to count.  Red Cross centers and Tuft’s Medical are overrun with volunteers.

2012-04-16T170123Z_01_BOS05_RTRIDSP_3_MARATHON-BOSTONDo you really think there’s a chance – a chance – that there won’t be a Boston Marathon next year?  Sure people will be nervous, there’ll be a lot of security, but if I wanted to go before?  I defiantly want to go now.

Because that’s where evil always screws up – it hurts people, and there are those who will never recover; it wounds us collectively in the short term; but it galvanizes the good in humanity.  Evil almost always results in the strengthening of good.  And don’t get me wrong, obviously I’m not looking at the “silver lining” here – I’m not suggesting “everything happens for a reason” or to “look on the bright side.”

But the evil part of humanity didn’t win yesterday.  Celebrations of life come out the will to make them – just look at the origins of the marathon itself.  And what’s good in people will win out here.  Because when the good part of us gets roused?  Has a reason to fight?  Nothing can stop us.

If you are losing faith in human nature right now? Go out and watch how people are responding to this tragedy.

About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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45 Comments on “The Good That Created The Boston Marathon Will Overpower The Horror That Raised Its Head Yesterday”

  1. Change My Body...Change My Life Says:

    Thank you. This post is pure magic.


  2. Catherine Johnson Says:

    Well said. My sister plans on doing the New York marathon, flying in from England. I hope this doesn’t stop her.


  3. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Well said. I agree wit your decision to be defiant. We have the Broad Street run here in Philadelphia next month and the show will go on…with extra security. People need to realize fear fuels the evil.


  4. donofalltrades Says:

    So much good happens everyday, but it isn’t “newsworthy”. It’s nice to see ordinary people shine in horrific situations. And they always do. Nice post, sir.


  5. Go Jules Go Says:

    “…galvanizes the good in humanity.” Well said – I couldn’t agree more. I felt a similar resolve after 9/11.

    If you ever decide to GO INSANE and run the Boston Marathon (No. 26.2 miles? No. Wrong. Your body says NO), I’ll come cheer you on (since I can practically see Boston from the backyard, thanks to these wee-but-scrappy east coast states)!


  6. cindyricksgers Says:

    A good, timely post; Thank you!


  7. mistyslaws Says:

    Well said. There is no reason that will ever make sense, indeed. But the humanity that rises out of it does give us hope. One evil act will not break us. It will only strengthen our resolve to be and do good. Run on, B-man . . .


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I get the instinct, and I have it too, but I always find it fascinating how we IMMEDIATELY want to know “why? why? why?” even before we’re dealing with the “what.” As if the chaotic will suddenly have order if we could just figure out the reason.


  8. silkpurseproductions Says:

    Perfectly stated Mr. Byronic Man. I tip my hat to you, Sir. I think defiance is the way to go. The light will always shine in the dark.


  9. susielindau Says:

    I agree and won’t be surprised if the perpetrator was a US citizen. There seems to be so many crazy lunatics running around.
    I cried when I heard the ER Chief’s report. The injuries were heinous. My next door neighbor was running when it happened and I checked Facebook, relieved to see that she had posted…
    It is so easy to get really angry about this, but I love your positive response of wanting to run next year. I would love to join you, but I would have to qualify….long shot there..


  10. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    So well said and inspirational. I am sickened every time I hear of another tragedy…I’d like to never hear of another one again…but what’s true of these events is that it does bring people closer…We can’t let evil beat out the good. Despite all the horrific stories we hear on the news, there’s still a lot of good left in the world, and that’s a beautiful thing. We just can’t lose sight of that.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’ve been really impressed how much people have focused on the reaction. Not in a way that minimizes the tragedy (I mean, one of the dead is an 8-year-old), but that refuses to give in to the monstrous.


  11. josefkul Says:

    I agree, this tragedy only demonstrated more how much people will get together and assist during a crisis. One of the individuals interviewed in the news said that he was always comforted by concentrating on the people helping in a tragedy. The Boston Marathon already has many medical staff in the area and these men and women helped so quickly that the damage done by this bomb was minimized as much as it could be due to the rapid relief victims had with emergency medical treatment. It is also amazing to see so many people running towards and not away from the blast as they race to save loved ones or even complete strangers.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I was reading one story of a doctor who’d just finished, and it was his first Boston Marathon, and immediately launched in to helping those in need. I can’t even imagine how tired he must have been.


  12. Blogdramedy Says:

    You run next year, we’ll sponsor you.


  13. Lorna's Voice Says:

    I used to “jog” not “run” before my chronic fatigue got the best of me, so I know what you’re talking about. Nicely done, B-Man. My heart reaches out to everyone in pain for due the violence in this world.


  14. Hippie Cahier Says:

    Because that’s where evil always screws up – it hurts people, and there are those who will never recover; it wounds us collectively in the short term; but it galvanizes the good in humanity.

    Another one of your sentences that deserves a standing ovation, metaphorically speaking.


  15. thesinglecell Says:

    I could only nod along. As writers who so often strive to be unique, I’ve found that many of those in my “circle” have been saying very similar things, and that my post is similar as well. For once, it is heartening to be common.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’ve noticed that, too, and had similar feelings. Okay, a couple times I’ve seen things that have been “shared” thousands and thousands of times and felt a little jealous, but overall I agree. It’s almost part of the proof.


  16. pfstare Says:

    I am a runner too and I also feel the same fierce defiance. I hope there are plenty of us.


  17. Elyse Says:

    I’m going along with the defiance. We simply can’t stop doing what we want/need/like doing because there are evil people in the world. Nope. Not gonna do it.


  18. mona Says:

    My favorite response is the rapid fire creation of the Mr. Rogers meme that I’ve seen several times now. Look for helpers. Be a helper. Defiantly.


  19. Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) Says:

    Great post. It makes me think of the poem by Maya Angelou, called “Still I Rise.”


  20. saffronmarker Says:

    No good has ever come of cowering when people do these things. There are so many incidents like this that happen everyday in different countries, we have no choice but to move on because not doing so and hiding aways is letting them win.


  21. Valentine Logar Says:

    Spectacular, thank you for showing how we can and do rise above the evil.


  22. Alix Says:

    Ahh, my teacher was suppose to go, but the night before she had a “gut feeling” not to go… Well, she sort of just had a nervous breakdown because she was so close to death and a lot of her close friends were badly injured… Everyone thought she was dead, so people up to 10 years ago that was in her life was calling asking if she was okay. The shooting affected her so horribly bad….


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yeah, it’s always amazing how many people show up to the starting line already injured. Folks, it’s just a race. I mean, I get that this is the big day, but ease off on the training, maybe.


      • Alix Says:

        She didn’t practice too much. She said she was scared she was going to trip and break something in the race, because it happened last year. xD



  1. the Infinite Monkey speaks: on the strengthening of good | steadily skipping stones - April 21, 2013

    […] The Good That Created The Boston Marathon Will Overpower The Horror That Raised Its Head Yesterday […]

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