Big changes in just a few hours.

I love the Boston Marathon.  Since I started running a few years ago, I’ve watched the race every year as some of the most inspiring athletes in the world take on the course from Hopkinton to Boston.  This year was no different. Monday morning was spent watching the elites take the course, then closely followed by hammering away at my refresh button while I virtually “watched” a number of friends run the course.

And another.

Right after I saw a couple of my fastest friends finish up, I had to leave the office for a few hours to head to a meeting.  When I returned to the office late Monday afternoon, a colleague immediately asked if I’d heard.

“Did I hear what?”

“There’s been a bombing at the finish line of the marathon.”

My day immediately turned from looking up finish times to finding out if my friends and their families were all spared.  Thankfully, no one I know was injured in the blasts, despite a few friends being very close.  At the same time, I started getting phone calls, tweets and Facebook posts from friends and family concerned that I might have been there.  Even a tiny bit of humor mixed in with concern came from brother-in-law.

“I am glad you are too slow for the Boston Marathon!”

The aftermath of these bombings confirmed exactly what I’ve always thought about terrorists.

Terrorists, whether we’re talking about Al-Qaeda or Timothy McVey, fundamentally misunderstand concepts most human beings get intuitively.

A symbol is not the same thing as the concept it represents.

If you melt down a wedding ring, it does not mean the marriage is over.  If you burn a bible, faith and religion carry on. If you bomb a government building, the government survives.  Even if you drive a plane into a symbol of freedom and capitalism, liberty and financial freedom live on.

Setting bombs off at the worldwide symbol of endurance, perseverance and the height of athletic competition will not stop runners.  It will not stop the families of runners from supporting them through months of training.  It will not stop a young boy from greeting his mom or dad after a race with “I’m so proud of you.”

You, who attack symbols, will never win.  Endurance will not stop.  Wanting something greater for yourself will not stop. Hard work will not stop.  Not now, not ever.  

Boston Marathon

If, after a lot of hard work, I get the chance to run Boston, I will be there in a heartbeat.