By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Shelby Schenck owns Run 26, a Mill Creek shop catering to marathoners.
On Monday, he noticed something that followed people’s initial shock of hearing about the Boston Marathon bombings.
“Business was slow in the morning. But then we were really, really busy,” Schenck said. “So many people came in and said, ‘I’m going to start running again.’”
Maybe that reaction taps into a desire to develop a marathoner’s intrepid spirit. A run of 26.2 miles is a grueling test of mind and body. It’s also the purest sport, with no team and nothing but shoes needed.
I think there’s more to the impulse to get out and run right now. An attack on the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest and most prestigious annual race, is an affront to all that’s good.
In the aftermath of Monday’s horror, the grit of marathoners will be mirrored all over this country by ordinary Americans — enjoying ball games, traveling, working, and simply going about life. If people take up running as a tribute to all who suffered in Boston, so much the better.
Bob Harrison has no intention of changing plans for running events because of a terrorist attack. The Edmonds man had finished running Monday’s Boston Marathon and was back at his hotel for a shower when the blasts occurred.
At 53, he finished in two hours, 58 minutes and 25 seconds, his second-fastest out of six times running the Boston race.
“I’ll be at Bloomsday,” Harrison said Tuesday from Boston. Spokane’s Lilac Bloomsday Run, scheduled for May 5, is one of the country’s largest timed races, drawing about 60,000 runners each year.
Harrison said there’s no way to keep an entire race course locked down, or to screen every spectator.
“What are you going to do, stay home and put your head under the pillow? We can’t do that,” Harrison said. He heard many runners in Boston say they would be eager to sign up for next year’s marathon.
Bill Iffrig, the 78-year-old who finished Monday’s marathon after the blast knocked him down, is a one-man example of runners’ grit in the face of adversity. The Lake Stevens man will be pictured on the cover of next week’s Sports Illustrated magazine.
Herm Atkins, an Everett police officer, ran the Boston Marathon in 1979. On Monday, he was thinking of the bombing victims.
The Boston Marathon, he said, “draws people from all over the world, and has nothing to do with politics at all. My heart goes out to all those injured, and the families of those killed.”
Atkins, 65, was one of the country’s top distance runners in the late 1970s and early ’80s. In 2012, he was inducted into Snohomish County’s Sports Hall of Fame. “I just can’t believe someone would do something like this,” Atkins said. “For someone to harm really innocent people, it’s unfathomable.”
Back at Run 26, Lynnwood’s Kevin Hannon was trying on shoes and planning to start running again. The 40-year-old said his last marathon was in 2011. Running, he said, is standing up to yourself, testing your own strength and courage.
“If we don’t bow down to ourselves, we’re not going to bow down to anyone else,” Hannon said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.