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Originally published: 2014-04-24 14:19:19
Last modified: 2014-04-24 14:20:04

Our View: Endurance running

Long-distance runners are not like the rest of us. These near-perfect aerobic machines are built, not born, from determination, perspiration and inspiration -- not always in equal measure.

Lucky for us mortals, although these elite athletes run in tight packs and close communities, we are allowed a periodic glimpse into a performance that plays out on a 26.2-mile stage.
 Of all those world stages, the one in Boston is a marathoner's Globe -- and a strong performance, let alone a win, is coveted as the crown jewel of a career. 

As spectators, we vicariously cover each inch from start to Heartbreak Hill with these men and women. Yet, the marvel of watching the winners cross a finish line is dwarfed by the marvel that such a thing can even be accomplished -- running what amounts to just a bit farther than the distance from Boone to Jefferson, and not as the crow flies. 

This is why when terrorism struck at this sporting Mecca last year, killing three and wounding hundreds with two pressure-cooker bombs, that strike was at more than the athletes, the event or the town. It was at the heart of a nation.

This year, amid heightened security and persistence on the part of many runners to finish what they had started a year ago, showcased a heart on the mend -- and we in Watauga County, through those hearty enough to represent us in shorts and sneakers, played a part in that.

In the end, the 2014 winner of the Boston Marathon was an American -- ending a national drought of the title that had been in place since 1983. No more fitting tribute could have been summoned, and we are proud to have been represented there through our neighbors and friends who made that tribute possible.