McLean County Board Erik Rankin wore his Chicago Marathon shirt at today's County Board meeting in tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. (Photo by Eric Stock/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - The bombings at the Boston Marathon seem to have united those in the running community.
McLean County Board member Erik Rankin donned his Chicago Marathon finishers shirt at Tuesday’s County Board meeting. His message: Even a bomb won't stop runners from reaching the finish line.
Rankin was among more than a dozen runners who held an impromptu gathering on Constitution Trail on Monday nightt, observed a moment of silence in the cold, wind and rain, and then ran in tribute to the victims.
Below are Rankin’s remarks:
"I am sure you are all aware of the senseless tragedy that occurred yesterday in Boston. Though the perpetrators of this atrocity are not yet known and intelligence is currently being gathered, I join my fellow runners and all Americans, in pausing in a moment of silence to remember the dead and injured at the Boston Marathon.
I wanted to take one moment to explain why this attack has no chance of causing its intended harm. Runners are indicative of the American spirit. We join in groups to run short or long, to run slow or fast and to share in our passions. Our passion is a triumph of spirit, overcoming obstacles but ultimately it’s a passion for community.
We define ourselves through our togetherness, and that bond can NEVER be destroyed.
Know this, runners understand pain. We deal with it everyday, whether it’s a knee, an ankle or just the searing pain in one’s lungs that comes from running a 5k to the 26.2 miles of a marathon.
Today, we get up and run again. We will run farther, and harder and with more purpose because we now run for our fallen family and friends. You see, your terror mindset has exactly zero percent chance of success. You will never stop us from doing what we love. I was particularly affected by one of the victims, 8-year-old Martin Richardson. Martin was watching his father race at Boston. I myself ran the St. Louis half marathon a little over a week ago with my beautiful girls Madeline and Alexis there to watch me.
You attacked us at the finish line of our most beloved event. Did you think you would do anything other than drive us together? You seek to cause pain and suffering through violence and your end result is making us remember why we love each other in the first place.
Runners don’t fail, because when we toe the line, we finish the race. No matter how hard and no matter how much we want to stop, we don’t. It is why others admire us, we have a resiliency that is the envy of many. Sound familiar?
Wearing my Chicago Marathon finisher’s shirt today I join a community in mourning. The only solution to hate and violence is senseless love. I urge my fellow citizens to refrain from anger and hate, that is the language of terrorism, and instead embrace one another in brotherhood. This painful event is one more reason recall the words of our framers…”We the People”. We the people will never give into fear and terror, and will never, ever stop running.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.