The 2014 Boston Marathon: This Is the United States

2014 was an epic comeback year for the historic Boston Marathon.

Apr 22, 2014 at 2:14PM

To support the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, you can contribute to the One Fund Boston.

Imag
The Boston Marathon finish line.

On April 15 of 2013, two improvised bombs ripped through the finish line at the Boston Marathon. The bombs killed three and injured hundreds of others.

Fast forward one year and for Bostonites and hundreds of thousands of runners and fans, the theme of the 2014 Boston Marathon was "taking back the finish line." Boston did exactly that, and in the process reminded me what the United States of America is all about.

I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon and had the nerve-wracking experience of having to track down my mother after the bombs went off. She was also running the race and was a mile from the finish line when hell broke loose. We, along with my fellow Fool Seth Jayson, were all amazingly fortunate to be unharmed.

We all came back for the 2014 Boston Marathon. We couldn't not come back.

In 2014 we saw first hand the resilience of the Boston community. We saw the resilience of the worldwide running community. And we saw the resilience of the entire U.S. as runners and spectators flocked from all over the country to take part in what was truly an historic event.

To be sure, there were echoes of 2013. Visible security measures -- from National Guard presence to bomb-sniffing dogs at nearly every corner -- were vastly increased, and undercover police were everywhere. Spectators were distanced a bit more from the runners and items like backpacks were prohibited for both runners and fans.

But the security only served to encourage even more to participate in the event as an incredible 36,000 runners took part in the race and hundreds of thousands of fans packed the sidewalks from Hopkinton to Boston.

And in an almost unbelievable turn, U.S. runner Meb Keflezighi won the race -- the first time an American has won since 1983. Keflezighi, who's 38 years old, was almost completely overlooked as a real contender.

In the late hours of April 21...
As race volunteers were busy on Boylston street breaking down the area around the finish line, I couldn't help but reflect on everything that had happened -- both in 2013 and 2014.

Perhaps the most heart-breaking aspect of the 2013 attack was the fact that most of those that were killed and injured were not runners, but spectators. They were there to cheer on friends, family, and thousands of strangers that'd pass by on the way to the finish line. They weren't there for a medal. They weren't angling for a "personal best." They were there simply to lend their energy and support to others.

And it's been those spectators, year after year, that have made the Boston Marathon such a special race. From the early miles in Hopkinton, to the "scream tunnel" in Wellesley, the hills of Newton, and the final stretch in Boston, those selfless fans give more than they know to the runners that pass them.

That made the epic spectator turnout in 2014 so awe inspiring.

And as I think about those spectators, I know that while the exceptional security that Boston provided must've been comforting, being out there one year after the bombing wasn't without risk. But when it comes to what is important to us as Americans, we're not a risk-avoiding people.

No, we're a country that tries our best to figure out what's right and then go after making that a reality.

Maybe this passionate approach doesn't always look pretty in the process. And we've definitely made plenty of mistakes along the way. But it's a passion and a drive that's taken disparate peoples from all over the world and built a country with freedoms, advances, and an economic engine that's essentially unparalleled the world over.

The 2014 Boston Marathon was many things. This was an epic win for an American runner, many thousands of personal triumphs, and a fist-pumping redemption for one of the country's greatest cities.

But the 2014 Boston Marathon was also a chance to see what we as a country still are and still can be. We hear so much about the sluggish U.S. economy, the polarities of U.S. politics, and the many ways that we're supposedly falling short. But Boston showed that the country can still put differences aside, pull together, and root each other on to greatness.

I was honored to be part of the 2014 Boston Marathon and it made me remember just how fortunate I am to be a citizen of this country.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers