Purity, innocence of running shattered by Boston tragedy

Farm Forum

Marathons are one of the purest and simplest forms of sport.

A good pair of running shoes, shorts, T-shirt, training, focus, determination and 26.2 miles are really the only tools you need in your bag.

Most marathoners think in terms of PRs — personal records — rather than winning. It is you vs. that day’s run. Some days, just getting your training run in is a joyous victory.

Marathons are mostly mental.

Since 1897, runners have gathered in Boston for the biggest of marathons. On Monday, the 117th Boston Marathon was run, but it wasn’t finished.

It seemed that South Dakota especially would have reason to celebrate this year’s Boston Marathon when Yankton native and former University of South Dakota cross country runner Matt Dewald placed 20th — 17,580 finished; more than 23,000 people started the race — in a time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 35 seconds. It was one of the highest finishes ever for a South Dakotan. Huron graduate and South Dakota State coach Rod DeHaven finished sixth in 2001 in 2:12:41.

Joy turned to sorrow at about 2:50 p.m. Boston time, or 45 minutes after runners such as Erika Zink of Watertown — one of 32 South Dakotans — finished running the Boston Marathon. Zink, her family and friends were in a holding area near the finish line. Zink heard two large “booms” — she first thought a grandstand had collapsed.

Instead, it was two bombs that killed, maimed and injured. Fiery explosions 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart that shattered the innocence of running.

Our thoughts continue to go out to all those affected by this tragedy.