Boston Marathon Sadness

Johnny Kelley finishing the 1940 B.A.A. Marathon

Johnny Kelley finishing the 1940 B.A.A. Marathon (Photo credit: Boston Public Library)

The Boston Marathon has always been known for bringing out the best in people. It’s known for runners and participants in wheelchairs struggling against Heartbreak Hill and conquering it. It’s known for Johnny Kelley, who competed in a record 61 Boston Marathons and ran his last full marathon at the age of 84.

It always felt like such a small town event even though it was in the city. People spent the day cheering each other on. Strangers smiled at each other.

It’s very sad that now it will be known for something else, something horrific. People around here say it will never be the same. Maybe that’s true, but I hope it’s not. I hope the spirit of the event and the people will rise above this. I hope strangers will continue to smile at each other.

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s  words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many  helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Mister Rogers

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30 thoughts on “Boston Marathon Sadness

  1. That’s a beautiful quote by Vonnegut. Makes a lot of sense, particularly since we’re all sickened and shocked over here. I will always be wary of people with extreme views, and nothing good can ever come from violence. I hope you and yours are safe and well, too!

    • Yes, quotes like that are floating around here. They seem to help a little when most things aren’t making sense. Thanks so much Mark. I didn’t go this year but I’ve gone in past years and so at least I can still remember it as a celebration. Although those memories of when it was all fun combined with horrible pictures makes the whole thing even sadder.

  2. I haven’t spent a ton of time in Boston, but to enough to feel like despite its market size for media numbers, it’s a sophisticated big town that takes great pride in all things Boston. The marathon will never be the same. It will be better. Americans have a way of rising above like that.

  3. Terrible thing to happen. We always ask why, but there never seems any logical answer. So sad that violence, and the death of innocent people, is seen as a way of making a point.

  4. Many runners have said they will return next year and hope that it will be bigger and better than ever. Hopefully that will be, however we will never forget this horror and I’m afraid that no matter how many return to run or watch, it will never be the same.

    • It is sad thinking of the way it was and that it might not be that way again. Things like this can help make us closer though, not that that’s really any kind of a consolation.

  5. Those are wonderful thoughts to share in the face of horrific events. There are wonderful people in the world. If only there could be more.

    • Maybe Mister Rogers should be required viewing for everyone. 🙂 I think we just hear of the horrible things more often. Then those things can make people give up. We have to remember that the world can still be that beautiful place, even if that’s hard to do sometimes.

  6. Sheila, I love the Vonnegut quote! While I had not heard it before, the message has served me well and came from somewhere inside.

  7. Thank you for sharing your words, Sheila. They’re a tribute to the city of Boston and it’s people. Your well-chosen quotes were perfect. We need Mr. Rogers in this troubled world….

    • I guess we’re all thinking similar thoughts and feeling this sadness together. I do miss Mr. Rogers at times like this but luckily his words can still be heard. 🙂

  8. Perfect quotes Sheila, thank you. The Boston Marathon is special to runners all over the world. Last night even our little jogging group shared a minutes’s silence before setting off, in solidarity with those affected. This cowardly act will only make us stronger, do the perpetrators not know this?

    • Hi Roy! That’s nice that your running group did that. There’s always such a feeling of solidarity whenever things like this happen. I wish we could keep that community feeling, realize that we’re all in this world together, and treat each other better.

  9. Those are some wonderful quotes, Sheila. I know the world will continue to smile despite the sadness.

  10. That Mister Rogers quote is perfect, Sheila. This was such an horrific act, but I’m glad there are so many more ‘helpers’ than ‘evil doers’ in this world.

    • It does seem better to focus on that part of it. I just hope we treat each other better into the future. That shouldn’t be very hard to do. 🙂

  11. I thought of the Mister Rogers quote when I was mulling over this tragedy. It’s amazing what people will do to come together in the time of desperate need. I liked Obama’s speech, about how positive he was about next year’s marathon, as though there is no doubt that we will continue to have it year after year. I thought that was a great message of confidence in the country as a whole, and also, in all the individuals who are a part of that event in some way.

    • I hardly ever watch the news because it’s so depressing, so I didn’t see the speech. I hope that small town community feeling it always had will continue. It does help to see all the positive reactions and all the caring people, and I hope we remember to keep acting that way toward each other into the future.

  12. Beautiful quotes and I didn’t know that one by Vonnegut. I used this one on my Facebook page on Monday:
    “The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

    I love Boston and I really hope to go back and visit some day.

    • That is a great quote – I hadn’t heard that one. Maybe love will grow stronger. I hope so. I hope you get to visit too!

  13. I watched the events unfold in Boston and Massachusetts this week, it absolutely made your heart stop, now matter how hard you were it made you cry. Still in those horrific moments the people of Boston and Massachusetts made us all proud to be Americans.

    • It has been very emotional with lots of sadness and tears. While we all feel these things together, hopefully we’ll somehow become closer.

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