The Edmond Sun


April 19, 2013

We should all run in the Boston Marathon

EDMOND — If you want to understand the nature of the United States, how we respond to attacks and how unwilling we are to back down from terrorism, look not at this year's Boston Marathon, but to next year's.

I'm willing to bet the 2014 running of the nation's oldest and most-revered 26.2-mile footrace will not just break but smash its own record for the number of Americans who apply for a slot. International runners, too, will clamor to be a part of the next race, which will be held on the next Patriots Day, to celebrate the meaning of freedom and the lives stolen and damaged this week.

Monday, as the carnage unfolded and the news announcers intoned, interspersed with my raging desire to destroy the culprits with my bare hands, was one thought: "I'm running Boston next year."

I bet a lot of people, from dedicated racers to confirmed couch potatoes, had that feeling. I hope, even given the difficulties involved, we all follow through. I want 100,000 or a million or 10 million people to show up at the starting line, then struggle to the finish line. I want us to show up the haters and killers and prove what dedicated, freedom-loving people can accomplish.

Standing between me and my last (and only) marathon are 3 1/2 years, 35 pounds and one endless, pesky Marlboro relapse. My running has dwindled from 40 miles per week to, oh ... 12 miles, by which I mean six miles, or on a bad week three. Or none.

But we should all run Boston next year, because we don't let killers win.

I haven't given up working out over the past few years. I've just substituted weightlifting for 90 percent of my running, which means I've turned my (never smoothly aerodynamic) body into a conveyance so unlimber and bulky that propelling it 26 miles via leg power will be like trying to race a Dumpster with no sail in the America's Cup.

But we should all run Boston next year, because terrorism cannot triumph.

I'm not exactly sure how we're all going to manage it, because when it comes to the Boston Marathon, not just anyone can enter. In general, you have to be really, really fast.

For a 42-year-old man like me, the requirement for a spot in the race this year would have been to run a previous marathon in 3 hours, 15 minutes. To put that in context, I ran the Kiawah Marathon in South Carolina on my 39th birthday in a shambling tear-stained 4:44. With a tailwind.

But Boston makes exceptions. There are special rules for people who run to raise a lot of money for charity and people who buy expensive tickets the race gives to its sponsors.

In most cases, though, being fast is the way in. And thanks to the increasing popularity of the sport, spots have been harder to come by. In 2011, the 20,000 spots for qualifiers were full eight hours after registration began. Changes helped, but this year the race was still oversubscribed.

I've always respected that running Boston means being a quality marathoner. But next year, just this once, the organizers ought to add starting flights for which the qualifying time is suspended. Everyone who wants to should be able to do those 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boylston Street. I picture cops from every state securing the route, and participants from every walk of life, crossing the finish line.

I imagine hundreds of thousands, even millions, accomplishing this feat, a race that lasts 24 hours or 48 or 72, honoring those attacked Monday and shaming those who would launch such attacks.

We should make a point even violent fools blinded by hatred can understand. We should all run Boston next year.

LANE FILLER is a member of the Newsday editorial board. His email address is

Text Only
  • Bangladesh’s sweatshops — a boycott is not the answer

    One year ago this week, the eight-story Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka, killing 1,129 people. The building’s top floors had been added illegally, and their weight caused the lower stories to buckle. Many of the victims were young women who had been sewing low-priced clothes for Western brands, earning a minimum wage of about $9 a week. It was the worst disaster in garment industry history.

    April 24, 2014

  • Loosening constraints on campaign donations and spending doesn’t destroy democracy

    Campaign finance reformers are worried about the future. They contend that two Supreme Court rulings — the McCutcheon decision in March and the 2010 Citizens United decision — will magnify inequality in U.S. politics.
    In both cases, the court majority relaxed constraints on how money can be spent on or donated to political campaigns. By allowing more private money to flow to campaigns, the critics maintain, the court has allowed the rich an unfair advantage in shaping political outcomes and made “one dollar, one vote” (in one formulation) the measure of our corrupted democracy.
    This argument misses the mark for at least four reasons.

    April 23, 2014

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 23, 2014

  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results