The first marathon began with death. It ended with death, as well. In 490 BC, the Greek messenger Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to inform his countrymen that their army had held and defeated an invading Persian force. According to legend, after completing the 40 kilometer run, Pheidippides collapsed and died.
When you ask runners, they’ll tell you that every step of a marathon is about death, about dying to yourself, your comfort, and your physical desire to rest. In the immediacy and reality of two bombs being detonated near the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon, the history and metaphors attached to the marathon are distant, but eerily relevant. As a result of the explosions, the most recent reports indicate that three people are dead (including an eight-year-old boy) and 140 people are wounded.