Every marathon is a tribute to determination and the power of the human spirit. Today's Boston Marathon, though, will shine a spotlight on those qualities not just through the runners and their 26.2-mile journeys, but on spectators, emergency workers and a city that has traversed a terrible year and triumphed over a frightening attack.
One year after terrorists set off bombs near the finish of the marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 250, about 36,000 runners will line up. That's 9,000 more than last year. More than 500,000 people from all over the world will line the route to cheer. And millions will watch on television.
There will be extraordinary stories out on the route. The 5,633 runners who could not finish because of the bombing were invited back, and most are coming, race officials say. The legendary Dick Hoyt, 74, has pushed the wheelchair of his son, Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through more than 30 Boston Marathons. The 2013 race was supposed to be their last, but the bombing kept them from the finish. Today, they say they will, they must, compete one last time.
Boston's race has always been special: It's the world's oldest annual marathon and one of the toughest to get into because of fast qualifying standards. This year, though, it will be something more.
The 2014 Boston Marathon will be a visual, visceral symbol of the fact that evil and violence don't get to win. Even terrorists cannot terrorize strong and good people out of achieving their goals, following their joys, exercising their liberties.
This year the race is for runners, and for Boston, America and everyone in the world who believes the human spirit can overcome any obstacle. We've seen it proven before. Today we'll see it proven again. And we will rejoice.