Commentary: A marathoner reflects on Boston tragedy

A marathon brings tens of thousands of runners to a single spot in a celebration of human energy, work ethic and common joy.

I have stood, packed together with marathoners at the early-morning start line, feeling strong, secure and anticipatory. What could touch us?

I stood at the start of the Boston Marathon in 2008 in the town of Hopkinton, shivering with excitement.

Invited to run the Boston Marathon, I began to feel like a real runner. I had to qualify. Friends sent me off with a party. Bostonians welcomed me at every coffee shop and street corner. The world thought my effort was remarkable. I was at the apex of strength and indestructibility.

A marathon is a democratic sport. Anyone with shoes and commitment can share footsteps with international champions. Marathoners who finish between three and five hours, when the bomb at today's Boston Marathon was detonated, are people with jobs and families. People who added hours of preparation to obligation- and work-filled lives.

Who could plan to rip into the moment when 20,000 people expressed their love of being alive, their desire to withstand pain to reach a goal?

Did bombers intend to tear the flesh and break the bones of runners finishing 26.2 miles at their well-earned moment of deepest relief, happy anticipation and satisfaction?

Did those responsible like the idea that their bombs would commit mayhem to bodies primed for action yet ready for reward?

The Boston Marathon is the most respected distance-running event in the United States, a high-density happening. Runners from all over the world fly in to participate.

What cause on earth can benefit from crushing human beings representing so many countries?

At this early moment, I leave my anger, disappointment and repugnance to the work of law enforcement. I remove my attention from destructive forces but turn my eyes to the runners who got up this morning in the fullness of life, knowing they would give their all. They deserve attention.

Newport Beach resident CARRIE LUGER SLAYBACK is an award-winning teacher and runner whose articles have appeared in Coast and Sassie magazines and the Los Angeles Times.

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