By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (30-Oct) — In honor of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings this past April, New York Road Runners President and CEO Mary Wittenberg announced today that a painted yellow line will accompany the traditional blue line guiding participants in Sunday’s race to the finish. The yellow line, symbolizing Boston’s strength, will be painted by the Department of Transportation from Columbus Circle to the finish in Central Park, approximately 400 meters in length.
“This year when our runners from around the world turn the corner to the finish from Columbus Circle, they will be greeted by a line of inspiration,” said Wittenberg, speaking near the race’s finish. “That line will be a line to the future and a line that represents our unity with Boston.”
As has been an annual tradition, a blue painted line has guided participants from the marathon’s start on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, through the city’s five boroughs, to the finish in Central Park. This year, two lines will be painted in the closing stretch.
“Every year we paint the blue line. This year we are adding a color of great significance to our signature blue,” Wittenberg said. “Last April, the running community, our cities of New York and Boston, and this nation, united like never before. We united together because our friends in Boston needed that, just like they did for us after 9/11.”
At the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, two bombs exploded in the final quarter mile of the race, killing three and wounding more than 200. Boston Athletic Association Executive Director Thomas Grilk accompanied Wittenberg and representatives of New York City at this morning’s announcement.
“There is no place to which we feel a stronger kinship than with New York. Maybe not at Fenway Park or at Yankee Stadium. But with that emotional separation comes an emotional strength and connection that is undeniable,” said Grilk, speaking passionately in front of reporters. “In the wake of what happened in Boston last April, we received an outpouring of strength that was powerful and has been sustaining.”
Grilk compared the cities strength and unity to how New York City recovered after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centers.
“People talk about Boston Strong, and what does it mean really? Pretty simple: that we, that you, that everybody don’t quit, don’t give in, and that we, all of us, will live our lives the way we chose to do regardless of what somebody does to try to stop it,” he said. “That kind of strength will be on display again on Sunday when once again it is New York Strong. We look forward to being here, seeing it, and being part of it.”
Wittenberg concluded her comments by speaking on the impact marathons like Boston and New York have on their cities’ morale.
“This year’s race had a whole other meaning. And that meaning was to carry on and celebrate and honor Boston, and to preserve the beautiful essence of what these marathons are all about: the coming together of our communities to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit.”
At the end of this morning’s ceremony, Wittenberg and Grilk joined city and sponsor representatives in painting the first strokes in front of the finish line.