A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013 - The Agony of Waiting and the Ramifications Of It All


When I first heard about what happened in Boston, I immediately revisited a lot of my horrible recollections from September 11.

Fortunately, all of the people I know who did this race were safe, thank God.

I still remember clearly the events of September 11, 2001. My brother was a new firefighter at the time and I was living in NJ. When the impossible happened that day, the cell phones went down, cutting off all contact with my parents and with my brother. I couldn't drive back to Staten Island, so I had to sit where I was, worried to death.

It took 6-8 agonizing hours over whether my brother lived or not before I was finally able to contact my parents on Staten Island. My parents finally gave me the good news that my brother was safe and that he was on the Staten Island Ferry when the Twin Towers collapsed.

Other families I know didn't fare as well with their loved one's fate.

So, I got the same recollection of what happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Again, the cell service went down, and people I know were spending hours agonizing on whether their loved ones were OK. It was an eerie deja-vu that dated back to September 11, 2001. Most families got their good news that everyone was safe. I really feel for the few families that didn't get good news.

And I really worry about the ramifications for all of this. Apparently all the security they had at the finish, including bomb-sniffing dogs, didn't help at all. Are high profile races like these going to turn into armed prison camps, where spectators have to pass through a TSA style screening to get close to the line? And if so, at what expense? New York has bumped up its fees significantly for races in the area to where most of these races are too high to race in.

I don't know, but whatever end-result we are going to see, I am definitely not going to like.

As an ultrarunner, I am kind of fortunate to not partake in any televised high-profile races like the Boston Marathon frequently, but I do find myself around the New York City Marathon a lot, especially in a volunteering capacity, so I still count myself among the vulnerable here.

Still, one of the redeeming qualities that I have is that I have never really feared death at all; when my time comes, then it comes. This makes me a bit more immune to shying away from attending high profile events like this. And I urge everyone to do so too.

Listen, everyone should have a very fulfilling life, and that means never making a decision because you might be scared of a threat to your life. If everyone lived in fear, nobody would ever venture outside of their houses at all, and what kind of a life is that?

The bottom line? Live your life to the fullest, and never be scared. To be scared is one of the goals of whom or whatever did this at the Boston Marathon, so don't give into it.

Just go outside and do your thing and let fate take care of the rest.

Oh, and on your next run? Wear your favorite race shirt in tribute to those who are suffering and and who have perished in Boston. Most runners will be doing that today; it's the least we can do.

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