By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
December 16, 2013: Prior to the start of the 2013 Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, participants, organizers and race watchers stood silent for 26 seconds to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Later that day, the Boston Marathon itself became the scene of tragedy when two pressure cooker bombs exploded at about 2:50 PM near the finish line on Boylston Street, killing three people and injuring an estimated 264 others.
Since then, race organizer the Boston Athletic Assn., lead sponsor John Hancock Financial and other Boston Marathon marketing partners, the City of Boston and countless companies and people in Boston, across the nation and around the world have worked not only to support the victims and honor the deceased, but, more importantly, to turn the tragic event into a forward-looking vision of hope and strength.
“Since April 15, Boston has experienced a worldwide outpouring of support and solidarity,” Thomas Grilk, executive director for BAA, said in a statement. "We have witnessed incredible bravery, strength and resilience from the people of this city . . . As we continue to address matters relating to the 2013 Boston Marathon, we also will begin to turn our attention to the 2014 race.”
One Fund Boston, created immediately after the events of April 15, has to date raised more than $60M for the victims and the families. And the term "Boston Strong" has resonated globally as a statement of fearlessness in the face of danger.
“When the world turned its eyes to Boston in the days and weeks following the marathon, the resiliency of our city, the courage of our first responders, and the strength of the many survivors were on full display,” Boston Mayor Tom Menino said in a statement. “Since then, countless acts of kindness and generosity have lifted our spirits and inspired us."
"Boston has experienced a worldwide outpouring of support and solidarity. Countless acts of kindness and generosity have lifted our spirits and inspired us."
Looking forward to the 118th running of the race, scheduled for April 21, 2014, BAA, John Hancock and other marketing partners — which in 2013 included adidas, Gatorade, Poland Spring, Nissan, AT&T, JetBlue, PowerBar and Samuel Adams, as well as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund — will build on the support and resiliency they received to make the event Boston Marathon stronger.
That includes the return of 2013 Boston Marathon champions Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia. There also was a special invitation from the BAA extended to the more than 5,000 2013 Boston Marathon starters who reached and were recorded at the half marathon checkpoint or later but did not have the opportunity to cross the finish line to participate in the 2014 Boston Marathon.
"We are delighted to have both Rita and Lelisa join us again in 2014 for the 118th Boston Marathon," said BAA's Grilk. "The BAA and many others recognize the significance of their return in 2014 after the attack on the City of Boston in 2013 [and] will celebrate their participation."