Athletes run to honor Boston Marathon victims

Sophomore Haley Daughhtee finishes her last lap for the Boston Marathon victims along with every athlete participating in the Ames track meet on April 16.

“There were so many people running the lap for Boston at once, all eight lanes were full and we covered almost 50 meters of the track at one time,” Daughhtee said.

Ames coach Kirk Schmaltz put the lap honoring the Boston Marathon bombing victims together after he received a forwarded email from the Boston Athletic Association, who puts on the Boston Marathon.

“They requested that runners and running clubs unite at high school tracks at 9 p.m. and run in support of the victims of the Boston Marathon,” Schmaltz said.

Daughhtee felt a mix of emotions while she was running the lap for Boston at the end of the meet.

“The reason we were running the lap was because of a horrible event, but I also was enjoying the moment for what it was; strangers coming together to honor the people affected by the bombing,” Daughhtee said.

Multiple explosions went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15. Three people died, while at least 260 are injured and being treated, according to ABC News. The FBI has labeled the bombings a terrorist attack.

People around the nation were shocked at what had happened.

“My first immediate thought, when I heard there was a bombing at the Boston marathon, was is nothing sacred,” assistant girls track coach Patrick Hennes said. “To me running, competition, sport, should be free from politics, and terrorism is just politics taken to an extreme level.”

Chris Siewert, girls head track coach, has run marathons before, and knows what it’s like to finish one.

“It’s a celebration for people because they accomplished that goal, and that’s really what a marathon is,” Siewert said. “It’s about you getting from the start to the finish, and it’s very mentally and physically exhausting. When you hear something like [the Boston explosions], it’s very depressing, it’s a tragedy, and you feel for the people out there.”

The Boston bombings have not only affected the people around the nation, but race venues as well.

“One of the freedoms we have enjoyed is the fairly low security we’ve had at those types of events,” Schmaltz said. “Now, after this tragedy, we are always going to wonder a little bit about backpacks and what is in them.”

Siewert agrees and has also noticed that as time progresses, race venues are becoming more precautionary when it comes to security.

“Since the Ames meet, I’ve thought that we should end every track meet as a lap honoring runners,” Hennes said. “I think our sport is one that is about competition, but in the end we’re all there to lift each other up.”

Coaches compete against each other as well, and Schmaltz liked how rivalries were pushed away and  at this time.

“We participated in an event with our runners, put our competitiveness aside, and supported a cause together,” Schmaltz said.

Schmaltz wanted to stress to the athletes the importance of respecting competition during the lap. As the athletes and coaches lined up to run, he delivered a speech to remind the girls what track is all about.

“Track is about appreciating your opponents and wanting to beat them, but respecting them,” Schmaltz said in his speech. “Which is what we are doing by running together and remembering what we have today may not always be here tomorrow.”

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