The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update


April 16, 2013

Editorial: Music of running turned into cacophony

Music of running turned into cacophony

There is a unique camaraderie among marathoners.

Certainly, there are classifications for participants. Elite distance runners or walkers can dream of national competition. But the majority are in the sport to push themselves physically and mentally, maybe to set a personal record or, at the least, finish the grueling 26-mile, 385-yard race.

Besides the individuality of running, there is a pack mentality that many casual observers don’t understand. Simply put, runners in races experience a collective sense of accomplishment. They push one another to perform and excel.

Back in 1978, when running became a trendier route to health and fitness, author George Sheehan wrote “Running and Being,” explaining the personal rewards of the sport.

When running in a group, Sheehan valued the leader of the pack for setting a pace. He wrote, “So I become lost in the running, lost in its rhythm, lost in its music. My mind and will are at rest. They leave my body alone, letting it do what years of training and conditioning have taught it to do so well.”

Monday, the solitude and rhythm of running in a pack was horrifically thrown into disorder as two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line. Tragically three lives were lost; more than 150 people were injured.

Marathoners, thinking of nothing but crossing the finish line, were stunned. You can see the confusion in the videos. The music of running turned cacophonous.

Around the world, runners — elite or casual — cried for the victims and empathized over the loss  of innocence for a simple, pure and personal act of endurance.

On Monday, runners, athletes, parents, families — everyone — lost a bit of the music. Sheehan sensed the power of running back in the 1970s; that spirit continued until this week.

Now, runners must draw from the Boston experience to collectively heal from the tragedy. The unity of sharing adversity is common for runners. They’ll find music again but it won’t be as sweet as before.

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