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Unusual Marathons

If you are a runner or walker who enjoys completing marathons and are looking for something different in your next marathon, then here in alphabetical order are seven unusual marathons throughout the world — including for each marathon its distinction(s), location, month, altitude, and average weather.

Some of these marathons are not necessarily held every year. Many of them are fundraisers for one or more local charities. Access to most of these marathons is limited or challenging, so you should plan to make travel arrangements well in advance of their event dates.

You can use a search engine on the Web to locate the website for more information, including participant qualifications and registration details, about each unusual marathon listed below.

All altitudes are “above sea level” unless otherwise indicated.

Antarctic Ice Marathon

-Distinction: Southernmost marathon in the world
-Location: 80 Degrees South, just a few hundred miles from the South Pole
-Month: December
-Altitude: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
-Weather: Average windchill temperature of -20C, with possibility of strong Katabatic winds

Everest Marathon

-Distinction: Highest marathon in the world
-Location: Nepal (Gorak Shep to Namche Bazaar)
-Month: November
-Altitude: 17,000 feet (5,184 meters), falling to 11,300 feet (3,446 meters)
-Weather: Snow and ice likely at the start of the course

Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon

-Distinction: Base of highest peak in Africa (Mount Kilimanjaro)
-Location: Moshi, Tanzania
-Month: June
-Altitude: 2,667 feet (813 meters), rising to 3,281 feet (1,000 meters)
-Weather: 77F (25C) average; 55 to 86F (13 to 30C) range

North Pole Marathon

-Distinctions: Northernmost marathon in the world; only certified marathon that is run entirely “on” water — the -frozen water (6 to 12 feet of ice) of the Arctic Ocean
-Location: Geographic North Pole
-Month: April
-Altitude: Sea level
-Weather: Extreme sub-zero temperatures

Pikes Peak Marathon

-Distinctions: Vertical ascent of 7,815 feet; hosted first official female finisher of a US marathon (Arlene Pieper, 1959)
-Location: Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA
-Month: August
-Altitude: 6,412 feet (1,938 meters), rising to 14,227 feet (4,336 meters)
-Weather: 68F (20C) average; 55 to 81F (13 to 27C) range

Sahara Marathon

-Distinction: “Hottest spot on Earth” — Sahara Desert
-Location: Tindouf, Algeria (El Aioun to Auserd to Smara)
-Month: February
-Altitude: 1,414 feet (431 meters)
-Weather: 59F (15C) average; 46 to 74F (7 to 23C) range

Tiberias Marathon

-Distinction: Lowest marathon in the world
-Location: Tiberias, Israel (Jordan Valley)
-Month: January
-Altitude: 656 feet (200 meters) below sea level
-Weather: 59F (15C) average at 9 a.m. (start of marathon)

Happy Unusual Marathoning!

Marathons Training – Know Your Pace

The start of a marathon is very exciting. Your adrenaline is pumping and you are feeling good. The start gun goes off and the marathon has begun. If you have done your homework and paid attention during your marathon training you will know what pace you want to run the race so you can achieve your goal time. If you allow your adrenaline to get the best of you, you will start out too fast and run out of steam. This is why it is important for your body to know what your pace feels like.

Going out too fast can set you up for failure. You may use up all of your energy sources in the beginning miles of the race and bonk before you get to the finish line. Going out fast will not build a time cushion for you to go slow later in the race. Just the opposite is true, you will run out of steam. If you go out slow, you will reserve your energy sources and have more left in the tank for the later miles in the marathon.

The best way to know your pace is to test it during your training runs. The long runs are where you can test your pace to find out what pace you can maintain for the marathon distance. Marathons’ training involves long runs every other week, building the distance each time. During these long runs you are getting your body accustomed to travelling a long distance. You are also finding out how your body reacts to taking in fluids during the run. Getting some nutrition during the training runs will also help you figure out what works for you body.

To determine your best pace, participate in some shorter races such as a 10K or a half marathon. This helps you get used to running in a crowd and seeing how your respond to those around you. Use your finish times during these races to determine your marathon pace. Your marathon pace will usually be slower than the pace you ran during the 10k and half marathon. For example, you can take your half marathon finish time, divide it by 13.1 miles to get your per mile pace. Then add 10 to 20 seconds to that pace per mile to get your marathon pace.

On your next long run during marathons training, try out this pace. If you are not able to maintain this pace during your long run, then you will likely not be able to maintain it on marathon race day. The long run is where you can tweak your marathon pace.

There are some runners who like to build in walk breaks into their marathon. You can do this by starting out with scheduled walk breaks in the beginning miles. This will help you reserve your energy for the later miles of the marathon. It will also prevent you from letting your adrenaline get the best of you. Then when you get to the later miles and you are feeling good, you can run more and reduce the walk breaks because you have reserves in the tank.

Many runners who use the scheduled walk break will run a little faster because they have more energy and are using the walk breaks to restore fluids and nourishment. For example, if you want to finish in a 10 minute mile pace, you may run at an 8:30 pace with scheduled walk breaks. This can average out to a 10 minute mile over the course of the marathon.

Runners will also wear a watch so they can see how they are pacing themselves during their runs. In addition, you can put some notes on a wristband to remind you of where you want your pace to be. During training for my first marathon, one coach shared with me a wristband where he would put specific time goals at set mile markers. For example, to run a 5 hour marathon that would be an 11.5 minutes per mile pace.

So by mile 3 he should not be any faster than 33 minutes and by mile 6 be at 66 minutes. If I covered the first 3 miles in less than 33 minutes, I was going too fast and should slow down a little. Or if I was at 6 miles in more than 66 minutes, I needed to pick up the pace. That little wristband was a simple reminder of where I should be without me having to do the math when I wanted to find out my pace. It allowed me to concentrate on the race and not get distracted by trying to figure out how I was doing.

The World’s Best Marathons

The world’s best marathons can be classified into many different categories, and we would like to give you a simplified version of them here. A marathon is a 26.2 mile endurance running test that is not for the weak at heart. From all across the globe millions of people endure the enormous feat of running at least 2 to 3 hour nonstop marathons. Although our list is in no particular order, we believe that these are the most challenging and widely chosen popular marathons.

The Boston Marathon

We’ll begin with maybe the granddaddy of them all — The Boston Marathon. This marathon has been run in the month of April for over 100 years and is ranked as the oldest annual marathon in the world. The mystique of this race is found in its tradition of running through the streets of downtown Boston and the surrounding areas. The enormous crowds of well-wishers throughout the race are something that sends tingles through the runners and provides the emotional support needed to complete the journey.

New York City Marathon

A little over 200 miles to the southwest of Boston is the New York City Marathon. The cool and crisp mornings in the month of November are there to greet about 30,000 runners each year. This marathon brings out the best in world-class marathoners from every country, celebrities, disabled runners, and a few jokesters along the way. The course usually attempts to run through all five of New York City’s Boroughs and always has an eventful finish in well-known Central Park.

Amsterdam Marathon

The month of October brings us to the Netherlands and the ever-increasingly popular Amsterdam Marathon. Included as one of the world’s best marathons, this event begins and then finishes in the 1928 Olympic Stadium. Although smaller in attendees than many of its counterparts with about 2000 runners, the beautiful lights and charms of the city continue to draw runners to this magical event year after year.

London Marathon

Considered to be one of the world’s best marathons, the London Marathon boasts an attendance of over 30,000 runners each year in the month of April. This often dew-drenched spectacle, which runs through the great streets of London and passes by Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, has been a fixture in this part of the world since its inaugural event in 1981. The tricky cobblestone footpath alongside the Tower of London has challenged runners for years.

Other Worthy Marathons

Not to be excluded from our list of the world’s best marathons are: The Stockholm Marathon run in the month of June which starts outside of the 1912 Olympic Stadium and then finishes inside of it; the Chicago Marathon that happens in the month of October and finishes in Grant Park on the shores of Lake Michigan; the picturesque Paris Marathon attracting more than 20,000 runners in the month of April; and the Honolulu Marathon showcasing the beautiful sights of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach while attracting more than 30,000 runners in the month of December.

Top Tips For Running Marathons

According to the 2007 USA Marathon Report, more than 403,000 runners made it through the finish line at marathon running events. This is both a record number for American participation in marathons and an indication of just how popular this sport has become.

But running marathons is not without its dangers. As physical therapist and athletic trainer Jim Wharton told USA Today, “[m]arathoners run on hard streets…the impact of each stride is three to four times a runner’s body weight, transferred from ankles to knees to hips.” This can lead to pain and injuries, which can force runners to stop before they are halfway to the finish line.

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize such health dangers and finish running the marathon of your dreams. By following these tips, you will be able to compete with a minimal risk of injury.

Proper Clothing

Probably the most important pieces of clothing for marathon running are proper shoes and socks. Make sure that you have a good quality pair of running shoes and socks that will stand up to the test of a marathon. In addition, do not run a marathon with brand new shoes, as this will inevitably lead to blisters and pain and certainly will not help you to win a marathon, much less to finish one.

Choose your running outfit carefully. The best clothing materials for running a marathon, say experts, are nylon and Coolmax-not cotton.

Practicing this Skill
1.Practice Makes Perfect.
Running marathons is not for the habitual couch potato, say experts. Those who do well in marathons are those who have been regular runners for several years (at least) before the event.

2.Take a Test Run.
Even if you are a regular runner, you may still struggle in a marathon if the only running that you have done is on a treadmill or on a jogging trail close to your house. Since running marathons is synonymous with running on streets, it is essential that you take a test run (or two) on similar topography before the big race.

3.Have a Dress Rehearsal. In at least one of your test runs, wear your marathon clothing and shoes. Try to start this practice run on the exact same time of the day as the upcoming marathon. A dress rehearsal run will make you feel like a marathoner, which will increase your confidence and your enthusiasm for the actual run.

Before Running Marathons…

1.Check with your Doctor. It is always a good idea to visit with your doctor approximately a week before competing in a marathon. Your doctor may be able to detect any physical problems (such as ankle injuries or heel pain) that could hamper an otherwise pleasant marathon experience.

2.Stay Hydrated. Drink copious amounts of water in the days leading up to a marathon and minimize your consumption of coffee and tea. (These caffeinated beverages are diuretics and can lead to more rapid dehydration).

3.Trim your Toenails. Although a little known danger of running marathons, toenails that are too long can get caught in socks and rip during the race, a quite painful and debilitating issue.

The Night Before Running a Marathon…

1.Sleep. It is imperative to get a good night’s sleep prior to running a marathon. Such sleep can restore your energy and prepare your body for upcoming stresses of the event.

2.Do Not Anticipate. The night before the marathon, try not to think about the day ahead. Such anticipation can over-stress you and damage your confidence. Remember…you have trained hard for this event. Your body knows what to do…trust in your training.

3.Eat a Proper Dinner. Fitness experts recommend that you include a substantial amount of carbohydrates in your dinner the night before running marathons.

The Day of the Marathon…

1.Wake up Early. Experts recommend waking up early on the day of a marathon for one very important reason-proper digestion of your breakfast. They say that, for best marathon performance, you should eat breakfast 2 to 3 hours before the race. Waking up early will also provide time to review your training sessions, visualize a successful run, and dispel any pre-race butterflies.

2.Arrive Early. To further minimize stress, experts recommend that arriving at least one hour before the marathon commences.

3.Come Prepared. Bring an extra set (or two) of clothing in the advent of sudden weather changes. Wear a watch to time your progress. Wear sunscreen to protect from painful (and dangerous) sunburn.

During the Marathon…

1.Conserve your Energy. Running fast at the start of the marathon is a temptation best to be avoided, say experts. This can quickly deplete your energy, leaving little energy for the longest part of the race. Instead, allow yourself a (relatively) leisurely 3 to 5 miles to move ahead of slower runners.

2.Drink Water. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the race, say experts. Do not wait until you ‘feel’ thirsty before drinking water. The first sign of thirst is a potential signal of dehydration. Therefore, drink water early-well before the 10th mile.

3.Enjoy Yourself. Whether you win a marathon, or even achieve your goal time for completion, what is important is to honor the fact that you followed through on your commitment. Enjoy your accomplishment–it is one that relatively few will ever embark upon, much less complete.

Director of Sports Psychology and co-Sponsor of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Stephen Russo, told USA Today that successfully running marathons takes more than physical ability. Rather, he says, it takes, “[m]otivation, confidence, and mental toughness.”
Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to obtaining these mental/psychological qualities as well as the physical ones needed to win a marathon.

Run a Marathon

Marathons have roots in ancient history, tracing their history back to the battles of ancient Greece. It is from here that we get one of the oldest athletic events, with a rich history and heritage that marathoners take pride in.

What is a Marathon?

The official length of long-distance foot races known as marathons is 42.195 kilometres. The history of marathons and the distance goes all the way back to ancient Greece. According to the legend of marathons, once the Greek had won the battle with the Persians, known as the Battle of Marathon, a runner named Pheidippides was sent to spread the news in Athens. Pheidippides is said to have arrived in Athens, reported the news and then died from exhaustion soon after.

The distance from the battleground to Athens was about 40 kilometres, which eventually evolved into the official distance for marathons of today. A number of authors have included the story of Pheidippides in several songs and poems, such as the works of Robert Browning. The poem composed by Browning was the inspiration of Michal Breal, who is the brains behind the organization of the 1896 Olympic Games. These games included a marathon.

In the marathons of today, a racecourse is set out by organizers to meet the required distance that was set in 1908 by the Olympic Games in London. According to the race, runners either begin all at the same time in one big massive start, separated by ability and gender, or sent out in waves.

The courses of marathons are typically left open for a specific length of time, generally for about four hours. Runners who do not complete the entire course are picked up and transported to the finish line. For marathons that are made up of a large group of inexperienced runners, the course is usually left open for a longer time so they are able to finish.

What is a Half Marathon?

Basically, a half marathon is half of a marathon run, which is often referred to as a mini-marathon. Half marathons are becoming more and more popular. Many times, people will take part in half marathons that are going on at the same time as full marathons. The difference between full marathons and half marathons is simple. A half marathon is about 21 kilometres in length.

It is easy to see why so many people are attracted to half marathons. These events do not require as much extensive training as full marathons. Often, several people get together to train for half marathons in groups in order to get ready for the 21K event. The majority of these races allow participants to register ahead of time, giving them time for sufficient training.

Popular Marathons

The most popular marathons around the world highlight the abilities of some of the world’s most skilled runners. In cities all around the world, runners come together to participate in these races.

Even though marathons are held all over the place, some marathons are better known than other races.

Some of the most popular marathons are:

The New York City Marathon – The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world. More than two million people gather on the streets of New York City to watch this race. In addition, another three hundred plus million viewers join the fun by watching the television broadcast.
The London Marathon – The New York City Marathon was the inspiration for the London Marathon, which first took place in 1981. Even though twenty thousand runners applied to participate in the initial London Marathon, only around 7,700 or so were allowed to run in the race. The course has since changed, becoming flatter and faster.
The Berlin Marathon – The Berlin Marathon was first run in 1974 with only hundreds of participants. Now, the Berlin Marathon is the world’s second largest marathon. It is also known as one of the world’s fastest races as well.
Gareth Barrow is a writer, Webmaster and fitness enthusiast.

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9 Ways to Make Your Runs Easier

Runs, as wonderful as they are at times, seem to be more difficult for some people. If you are one of those people, check out these 9 ways to make your runs easier.

1. Shoes

Do you feel pain on your feet mid-run? Or does your feet feel hot and get tired easily? Most likely, the problem is with your shoes. Running becomes harder when your feet either gives up on you or is being subjected to a lot of stress. Worn-out, as well as incorrect shoes, can definitely do that. Let your feet be as comfortable and safe as possible. For example, wear shoes based on your gait. Choose shoes which are made of breathable materials. If you want to try something different, pick up a pair of Diadora running shoes. The Italian brand is known for quality and technology. Lotto, another Italian brand, is also a good option.

2. Rest

Like any hobby or sport, too much can burn you out. If you feel that runs are becoming harder, especially after pushing yourself even more, then it’s time to rest a while. Rest will not just heal your tired muscles but refresh you, so you’ll be energized for your next run.

3. Find Your Training Time

Sometimes, how you perform is based on the time of the day you feel most comfortable. For example, not everyone is a morning person. And some people are too exhausted to run after work. So it’s important to know what schedule fits your needs. You may have to experiment at the start by running at different times, but it will be worth it when you find your comfort zone.

4. Get the Right Fuel

Not eating the right foods and dehydration can easily wear on you when you run. Eat healthy foods and complex carbohydrates before and after your run. Make sure you’re properly hydrated as well. Of course, there’s no better drink than water.

5. Run for a Purpose

Running for the heck of it may work in the short-run, but it may be different in the long run, especially when factors like schedule and repetition sets in. Running then becomes harder. Make runs easier by having a purpose. It could be about losing weight or staying fit. Another good reason is charity. You can find a lot of runs where proceeds go to a good cause. A purpose becomes a motivating factor for you to run.

6. Shorten your stride

Over-striding is a sin when you’re running. It may seem like you are getting more out of your run, but you’re actually tiring yourself out and setting you up for possible shin injuries. Shorten your strides instead.

7. Crank Up the Music

Get an ‘Internal rhythm’ by using songs. Use the beat and time to prep you up during the run. You can sing (out loud or just in your head, if you’re shy) and before you know it, you’ve finished a portion of your run. Does finishing half a mile in 5 minutes seem daunting? Play a five minute Imagine Dragons song (or BeyoncĂ©, depending on what you like) and conquer your run. However, let the music motivate you and not distract you.

8. Run with someone (doesn’t have to be human)

A good conversation and added motivation from a running partner can really help make a run easier. Most likely, you won’t even notice you’ve covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Mind you, a running partner doesn’t need to be an actual person. A pet dog-or a seriously obedient and athletic cat-can make an excellent running partner.

9. Pick a Good Route

Nothing like a good running route to give you an easier time. Pick a scenic place so it’s easy on the eyes. A smooth route is also good for your feet.

Marathon Running and Vegan Diets For Beginners

Perhaps you’re considering going on a vegan diet, but can’t see how you’ll ever get there. Maybe you’ve dreamed about running a marathon, too, but abandoned it as impossible?

If so, just ponder the expression by William Arthur Ward:

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”

Five short years ago, I had not begun a vegan diet, nor had I run more than an occasional 1-2 miles on the running machine (staring at the wall at the fitness club, it felt like a death sentence). Growing up, I had been a miserable athlete, skipping all PE classes from 9th grade onward to avoid humiliation.

Just as a plant-based diet often begins with small steps, such as avoiding meat one meal a day (or one day a week) or eliminating a single kind of meat from your diet, until you’ve actually begun running, it’s totally natural for you to believe you’re not capable of getting in shape to run a marathon.

Only after you have run around the block or survived 5 minutes on the dreaded running machine do you start to recognize your true potential. After settling into a training routine, you get a few 5- and 10ks under your belt, and start to realize that a half-marathon is within your grasp.

I don’t mean to understate the preparation and commitment you need to run a marathon. But while you shouldn’t expect to get there overnight, it’s not as difficult as you might think. There are unlimited resources available to develop your marathon training plan, and first time runners should generally allow from 4-6 months, depending on your condition.

It’s OK if it takes you several months, or years to develop the confidence to sign up for a marathon, as long as you keep moving in a positive direction. Whether preparing for a marathon or starting a plant-based diet, you’ve got to expect occasional setbacks and self-doubt along the way. The key is to not allowing yourself to be deterred from reaching your goal.

Although I ran Tokyo Marathon, my first, in March 2009, after 1 1/2 years, I began to doubt whether I could do another marathon, and whether I would be able to make it to Honolulu, owing to time, finances, as well as minor injuries including knee pain and a sore achilles tendon. There were last minute surprises, too, like discovering I had forgotten to pack my 5-fingered grip socks just before laying down to sleep on the eve of the marathon!

Once you make your mind up to run a marathon, you need to decide your specific training goals. Avoiding injury, more than a running a fast time, was my first priority throughout training the past year. In addition to running (cardio), I have been doing core exercises and yoga for strength, balance and flexibility. Although I was sucking wind at the end, I had finished the Honolulu Marathon, in a time that even surprised me.

After finishing a marathon, you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything. If you have prepared well, I guarantee you will enjoy it, and want to do it again. Scheduling another running event in the future will give a purpose to continue your training, too. Like a healthy vegan diet, running benefits your physical fitness and your mental outlook.

Whether you run a marathon or adopt a vegan diet, you will be charged up for bigger challenges, and realize you truly can do anything you can imagine!

For more information on upcoming running events in scenic Hawaii:

Maui Marathon

Honolulu Marathon

I am not a nutritionist – just a guy with heaps of useful advice and encouragement to offer those considering eliminating meat and other animal products from their diets. Until age 44, I’m certain my diet consisted of more eggs, milk, and red meat than the average American’s. Give it a try and I assure you, you will begin to feel healthy and youthful. Take it from me – paying attention to the foods you eat (and don’t eat) is the best way to maintain good health, and a plant-based diet is a great way to begin.

I’m Hurt Real Bad,” Boston Marathon Tragedy

To experience the joy of spring in New England and in its first and principal city since its inception in 1630 you must have faced and survived the very real rigors of the New England winter as only the genuine New Englander can do… resolute people… determined people… people for whom the very idea of tenacity was created.

These are the people who know the rancor in the bone rattling chill the old Atlantic has thrown at its stubborn inhabitants each wintry season since there were such inhabitants; daring them to spend yet another exacting season on this inauspicious pied-a-terre the Pilgrims audaciously decreed would be their Godly capital. And so fearing nothing but God they began, little knowing how many challenges there would be, but bolstered by the living God facing each one as it came, no matter what it was or how it seared us.

These are the kind of people who in this often grim, demanding geography built their Shining City on a Hill… these are the kind of people who sustain it. For we are a stern and rigorous people who have grown up sometimes daunted, sometimes misguided, sometimes stumbling, but always advancing… renewing… improving; even when our heart is breaking… as it most assuredly is breaking now.

For the musical accompaniment to this article, I have chosen one of the most soothing and uplifting compositions because I feel sure composer Aaron Copeland meant it especially for moments like now. This is “Appalachian Spring”, and I recommend you go now to any search engine and listen to it carefully… for if your soul has no immediate need of it, there is sure to come the day when it will.

This radiant achievement was first recorded October 7, 1945. It caught the sound of the Great Republic as she moved out of the massive burden of war and took her great place on the world stage as the one certain hope of every person who loved freedom and all its works.

One of the first recordings was made in Boston, the uneasy, restless, aspiring city where every corner, every location, every crooked, narrow lane revealed another aspect of what this place and its people had done for themselves as they forged revolution here in order to secure liberty everywhere. The world took note of Boston and knew that here important things had been done… things which might benefit them.

And so the unyielding land of New England and its principal city changed the world while admonishing the good people everywhere to see what they had done to shape the better life, urging them to do as much for themselves and to do it as well.

Into this great city of liberty came people determined to use that liberty to confound that liberty, wreak grievous havoc, and inflict mayhem and pain on a perfect April day when spirits were high and joyous and all New England was garlanded by the flowers of springtime we had all been waiting for. These people came to kill… and they did kill. Came to maim… and they did maim. Came to show what purposeful menace might do… and they did show.

Thus a mother heard in disbelief and horror what her son called on this April day to say, “Ma, I’m hurt real bad.” He had lost both legs to the people of purposeful menace. Then shortly after she learned a second son had lost both his legs, too, her dismay now complete. In this way the bright promise and happiness of the day died… to be replaced by disbelief, lamentation, and wonder that the work of so few could disrupt so many, so completely, and create so much pain. The universal question was ‘How could this happen?”

Martin Richard.

Of those killed, I felt an immediate affinity for Martin Richard. Why? Because he was a boy who wrote improving messages on poster board. What’s so important about that? Just this: I was such a boy myself and spent happy world-changing hours crafting my posters with Magic Markers like Martin, just so: school election posters, powerful lines taken from a well-thumbed “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations”, the ones designed to decorate my room (often featuring the strongest possible warnings to a younger brother who wanted in when I was determined he should stay out) and, of course, the pieces de resistance, master works laboriously created, to be displayed in presidential elections, then kept proudly for years in my clothes closet, until they, tattered, still venerated and profoundly admired, were in shreds.

He was just 8 and his latest beauty, hand-lettered as usual, said a mouthful, “No more hurting people. Peace.” It was festooned with those hard-to-make symmetrical hearts beloved of the very young and the very young in spirit. The peace symbol anchored the bottom standing alone in majesty, the better to make sure people knew it was a thing of the utmost significance and Martin’s credo.

Of course, as many different colors as the young inventive mind could conceive, were riotously used to create this baby. He reckoned that such an important message called for such an abundance of color as the world had never seen. Thus he applied his choices with verve, lavishly, restraint unthinkable.

In perhaps the last picture of Martin he stands before the world, a wisp of a lad, no heavier than a sack of potatoes as my grandfather used to say, his smile a tad sheepish, proudly showing the message that was the heart of his endeavor.

He died in an instant, his mother and sister were severely injured. And so the youthful advocate for what the world needs now became a mangled thing of blood, disfigurement, and death.

Thus he touched the world and became the very symbol for what we so desperately need and can never have enough: peace. One hopes for the existence of God, if only so that Martin Richard can abide through eternity in serenity with the peace he urged upon us all… the peace he had for himself such a little time.

4:21 p.m. Eastern. “Are you alright?”

The voice at the other end was the best of friends. “Turn on NPR at once. Are you alright?” And so the great matter was brought with urgency to my attention, by someone who watches out for me. By that time, the cell phones of the world were overwhelmed by the calls of the near, dear and concerned, all having but a single refrain: are you okay?

In such ways does love work… and if there was malice that day on the part of a handful, millions demonstrated love. And as these calls were made, so numerous that even the most sophisticated systems were overburdened and crashed, the people of Boston did what they have done since 1630 in the face of every calamity: they said a little prayer, dusted themselves off, and helped the sore afflicted as best they could until the great resources of the great city could be summoned and brought to bear.

For this is the city of the living God, as eternal as the Eternal City itself, the city the Pilgrims wrought from the inhospitable and daunting terrain, the very definition of fortitude, endurance, courage and unflinching resolution. This is the city which gave the men of ’75 the ideas that changed the course of world events and the lives of millions, including generations yet unborn.

We are the people of Boston, current custodians of her universal renown. And if our pain today is sharp, deep, and acute, we have not bowed before the unfolding tragedy. That is not the way of this place and its people even under the greatest duress. There have been great tragedies in these hallowed precincts before; there will be great tragedies again. We shall rise to every occasion, just as we have risen to this one. In this way we honor our ancestors and provide the righteous example for those who, in the fullness of time, will take on this essential burden of our greatness and humanity.


Tragedies like this one must be remembered. Yet remembrance is difficult in a society where tragic incidents come thick and fast. We want to remember, we try to remember, but all too soon we cannot remember… and something essential is lost to us and our posterity.

Let us learn from London, a city of important incidents, people and events, all memorialized by blue historical plaques reminding us of what transpired in these critical places, each a thing which might well be forgotten if no conscious effort was made to remember. Yet remember we must for the consequences of negligence put all our crucial memories at risk… and this is unacceptable.

The past is prologue, and we must do everything to ensure that its significance is never lost. Otherwise, the senseless deaths of Martin Richard and his companions for eternity will be unmitigated, their oblivion making a great tragedy more tragic still; thereby further blighting these once perfect spring days in the city of godliness, revolution, and unceasing incident.