The day started with good running news--my niece called to tell me that she'd run her first 5k yesterday. She was second in her age group (under 13), with a time of 39 minutes and some seconds. Not bad for a little girl who turns eight on Thursday! Her father ran it with her, proving his "wonderful daddy" status. Ironically, despite the comparative snail's pace, he finished in the middle of his own age group (40-50).
I spent most of the morning running around, finishing the application for financial aid from VA Hospital Center, going to the library to print out all the documents they required, and then hand-delivering the packet to their billing office. It was a few minutes before one when I drove into Georgetown, and the radio reported that the winners of the Boston Marathon had just completed the course--the men's champion had finished the 26.2 mile course in a blistering 2 hours and 10 minutes. I told Mums about it--unbelievably fast!
Just a couple of hours later, the whole event was brutally interrupted by the pair of explosions by the finish line. To have run so long, so hard, to be in sight of completing the race, and then to be injured, even maimed by explosives is terrible. There's certainly no place in civilian life where one expects to have a bomb detonate or to be the victim of a terrorist attack, but to target a general-admission athletic event, where people are testing themselves, celebrating victory over the course and the clock, is, to me, far more barbaric, and unreasonable (that presumes that the bombers have reason; not a given) than, say, even focusing on a shopping mall or a franchise sport, where, perhaps an anti-capitalist statement could be made.
My sister was very shaken up--if her husband hadn't accompanied Rita in her 5k yesterday, he might have been running the marathon as he has in the past, and he would have just been finishing when the bombs went off. Like my aunt, who lives just outside of Boston, they knew people who were running today, but all were reported safe. Thus far, three people have died, including a boy of eight, just Rita's age.
My sister's nursing school, where she has classes tomorrow, is just down the street from the blast area--she said she could see the campus library in the shots of the explosion. She told me that one mercy for the victims was that they were literally one minute from five of the best hospitals in Boston. Given also the normal toll of marathons on the runners, the race aftercare tent was also handy with first aid equipment. But so many people lost limbs. Even the best hospital in the world can't reattach a leg that has been blown to pieces.
Law enforcement still doesn't know who did it. Was it a disgruntled American, some evil person determined to avenge some imagined insult to liberty by denying life and the ready pursuit of happiness to others? Was it a foreign actor, bent by religion or politics on visiting misery on carefree Americans running through a historic city on a beautiful spring day? Was it a group or an individual--maybe even a private vendetta, coincidentally affecting a large swath of spectators when a single person was targeted? We'll probably find out in the next few days.