Knighton: 26.2 Miles of Defiance

Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts. (Credit: AP)

Marathons are exhausting, grueling events.  They’re not for the faint of heart, and that’s when you’re not concerned about a bomb going off and injuring or killing you or those around you.  Now, it’s easy to decide to not to run one of these things.

Me?  I’m going to run the Boston Marathon.

You see, there’s still a lot of things we don’t know right now.  As I write this, we don’t know who detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. We don’t know what warped ideology may have lead to this act of terrorism – and I’ll call it terrorism, whether President Obama will or not.

What I do know is that terrorism cannot be allowed to win. Ever.  Part of that effort is to live our lives. It is to not permit the terrorists to dictate the terms of how we, as Americans, engage in recreation.

I used to run a lot, but that was a long time ago. During those days, I thought about running a marathon, but never really put anything towards it. On Monday afternoon, just a little before 3 p.m., the terrorists gave me all the reason I needed to run 26.2 miles.

I refuse to let a terrorist, regardless of ideology, dictate what I do. While that hadn’t included a Boston Marathon, even in my running days, I’m enough of a contrarian to decide that now things are different.

Next year, some souls will decide to stay home instead of running one of the biggest marathons in the world.  Those people may have, at least in the back of their mind, the fear that a bomb might explode and ruin their race…if they aren’t among those torn apart.

Some folks like myself refuse to let that go.  I’m not going to let a terrorist keep me away.

I’m going to run that race. Maybe not next year, but I will run it.  I’m going to run that race as a giant middle finger to terrorist everywhere.  I’m going to run because, in my own small way, I’m going to be a symbol of defiance.

Americans aren’t swayed by acts of violence.  As a people, we are a defiant breed.  You tell us to stay off the grass, and our first instinct is to have a picnic.  That spirit has been removed a bit, but an act of violence like this has an amazing way of bringing it back.

So yeah, I’m going to run a Boston Marathon.  Terrorist must be taught that this isn’t how you affect the change you want.  Instead, it’s just a good way to make Americans angry.  We’re a lot like the Incredible Hulk.  Don’t make us angry.  You wouldn’t like us when we’re angry.

Just ask Osama bin Laden.