Congratulations to the USA on winning a wonderful Women’s World Cup. I’ve seen six games and some outstanding play in the 2015 tournament, including a couple of cracking goals in the final. To have been in Vancouver’s stadium with more than 53,000 other spectators on three occasions – less than 25 years after my sister had to campaign to be allowed to play football at school – was a great experience.
A terrible bomb attack in Boston today has killed at least three and injured dozens of people. As a marathon runner myself, I can imagine what the athlete in the following video must have been going through even before the cheers of the crowd turned to screams.
Running a marathon requires strength of will. Running 26.2 miles is not easy. Despite weeks of training covering hundreds of kilometres, the average runner will probably be suffering in the last quarter of the race. Your body might be telling you there is nothing left, it may be screaming in pain, but your brain keeps you going. Your mind tells you to just keep putting one foot in front of another and, step by step, you make it to the finish line. Marathon runners have the will power to push on through to the end.
The contrast between them, their supporters and the coward or cowards who carried out today’s heinous attack cannot be starker. The runners have strived to achieve, their supporters backed them all the way. The cowards, on the other hand, wished only to destroy to try to provoke fear.
But I am sure they could not have picked on a more inappropriate group of people to attempt to cow. Marathon runners know how to overcome and carry on. Their supporters know how much it means to reach the finish line.
The nature of a marathon and the way it winds its way through kilometre after kilometre of crowd-thronged streets means preventing a bomb attack is almost impossible. Next week, another huge marathon takes place in London. The organisers have said they expect it to go ahead. Next month, a marathon will take place in Vancouver. Barring serious injury, I will be there on the start line. I will think of the runners in Boston and their supporters, but I will not be cowed. The terrorists have killed and they have maimed, but they will not win.
Like thousands of others, I will race.
Remember Hurricane Sandy. It might seem weird to urge people to remember a storm that has yet to hit the eastern seaboard of the United States. But as news networks gear up to bring us stunning satellite images of the hurricane, reports from storm-blown reporters on beach fronts and dodgy phone calls from meteorological aircraft, we should not forget that this so-called “Frankenstorm” has already slammed into Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti.