To Boston with love

16 Apr

The sheer volume of news reports around the events at the Boston marathon yesterday has been incredibly moving in itself. I wept listening to an American journalist on radio 4 today describe how he felt upon hearing the blasts – so eerily reminiscent of 9/11 – that he saw in those moments, everything that is the very worst about humanity and then in the minutes that followed, and in the behaviour and response of everybody there, everything that is the very best. One marathoner – a medic – just crossed the finishing line, only to hear the blasts and then walk straight back into the thick of it to help treat the injured.

Everything that is amazing about humankind is embodied in a marathon race: from the participants – who are daring to push themselves to the very limits of physical and mental endurance; to the organisers, families and supporters – all rallying round, whatever the weather! offering sweets, drinks, a cheer, a smile; encouragement that when delivered as a group in this context seems to take on a real power of its own, a power that can then somehow be harnessed and converted into adrenalin for those running. It is incredible. And all that power, all that grace – which defines a marathon, was exemplified in everyone’s reactions in the immediate aftermath – and the ripples have been felt. London can feel it. Everyone who has ever taken part in a marathon feels it. Its power cannot be diminished by terror or quashed by fear. We salute you Boston, and on Sunday London marathoners will honour you…

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