The news of the bomb attacks, along the run in to the finishing line, at The Boston Marathon, was flashed up on my BT Yahoo homepage at around 21.40hrs, yesterday evening rapidly followed by fragmented reports and video footage quickly assembled for a "newsflash" by Sky news. Horrific scenes of unbelievable carnage in a peace-time setting. I went to bed with my head full of questions - just as it was when I walked across to work in the semi-darkness of the Thanet dawn.
The daily scandal rags were full of half-cocked stories, none of which could agree on a death toll, let alone a motive! Many of my colleagues have fancy i-phones, and the unfolding story was followed during the shift - I don't think many could find an explanation for such an outrage - even within their, collective, extreme cynicism. My afternoon was taken up with my grand-daughter - Emily being the best distraction from reality - her world rules whilst I am in her company; long may it continue!
We arrived back home to the stories of FBI leads and Obama quotes - no-one has any idea as to a motive for this "cowardly" attack.
In 2000, 2001 & 2002; I was very fortunate be be able to take part in The London Marathon - as a Unilever employee I had a guaranteed place (Flora were the sponsor). All I remember about the day is of incredible crowd support and an individual sense of achievement. I am in no doubt that all the money in the world couldn't buy that feeling of completing the marathon. It is nothing to do with winning - it is all about you and your individual battle. I have incredible memories about my three marathon adventures - I caused quite a stir on Unilever T/V. Company t/v was all the rage at the time and one of my managers had suggested that the (hapless) girl doing the interviews should intercept me as I entered The Sports Cafe - Haymarket, where our corporate post-event celebrations were taking place.
I cannot recall the complete conversation, but do know that it went along these lines!
"Hi Dylan, how does it feel having completed The London Marathon?"
"F**king wonderful - that crowd is amazing, I couldn't have stopped if I wanted to" - "What a day and what a fantastic advert for Flora/ Unilever; the company should be really proud of their association with such a global event!" (I knew that this sort of jive was what they were after)
Q. "Did you run in fancy dress?"
A. "Yeah; I looked like an athlete!"
Q. "Are you going in for a massage and a warm down?"
A. "Are you completely mad? Do you think I've done a lap of London for a glass of orange juice? There's free piss up them stairs and I'm getting 26miles worth - nice talking with you"
These are my memories of the greatest mass participation event in the UK; the Boston version being no less worthy. As a competitor, I have a great deal of empathy with those who have just undergone this arduous challenge only to have their day ruined/overshadowed by the act of a (group) terrorist.
Why make this attack on the "fun runners"? The elite athletes had finish and it was the "ordinary guys" who were completing their own personal challenges that fell victim to this crime, and those decent folk who were hanging on to support them. The sums of money that are raised for various charities is in the "scrillions" - all by ordinary folk facing up to this fantastic challenge. To become embroiled in some crazy, politically motivated, attack is way beyond my comprehension.
During my three efforts, I managed to raise over £2,000 for pre-school groups, a youth club and the Margate Pilgrim's Hospice. Is the loss of funding what this malcontent group is hoping for, with this action? God only knows - but please don't allow these maniacs stop these global celebrations from being a stage where an ordinary guy can partake in an extraordinary event.