I’ve always liked the running community. I like to believe that it’s a closer, tighter community than for example soccer, F1 or cyclism. And the more I get involved, the more I believe this to be true. Of course, at the head of the race, the competition is fierce. It’s a hard sport and they’re not going to make it easy for you out there. There’s very little tactics and in that way it’s a really fair sport: whoever wins probably hasn’t stolen it. Unless of course there’s foul play in the game. And if you put its history of doping abuse aside, running is a really pure sport.
Take Iván Fernández Anaya for example. Young, talented and wherever he starts, he does so to win. On Dec 2nd, he was participating in a race in Navarre and in the final straight, he was in second position on a respectable distance behind Abel Mutai. Mutai, however, mistakenly thought the race to be over at about 10m before the actual finish line. Everyone started yelling at him, but Anaya caught up with him. But then, instead of overtaking him and sprinting to a certain victory, he gestured Mutai to the finish line and allowed him to cross it first (full story).
I can tell tons of stories like that. When someone pulls out halfway a marathon, seemingly injured, other runners will call out to see if everything’s ok. During trails, I can barely count the times I called out to a co-runner to warn him he missed a sign and was off-track on one hand. But then again, the favour has been returned to me on just as many occasions. Sure, we could shut up and take advantage of the situation to overtake. But that’s just now how things work in running.
And then this happened. The bombings near the finish of the Boston marathon are miles away from everything that running stands for. It’s hard to grasp what happened. On the other hand, it’s beautiful to see that runners will always be runners: news station NBC reported runners who kept on running after the finish, straight to the finish to donate blood.
Edit: Meanwhile, tons of other heartwarming stories just keep on coming as time passes by.
In other news, I’m running the Antwerp marathon next Sunday, together with my buddy Greg. that’s 42.2k / 26.2 miles dedicated to runners worldwide and especially to anyone who was, in whatever way, affected by the attack.