They will be back.

You can count on that.

They won't be bullied and they won't be scared away.

York marathon runners are too tough a breed for that. After all, you don't develop the ability to run 26.2 miles in a matter of a few hours without having more than a little grit.

A coward (or cowards) with an ax to grind and the limited ability to make crude explosive devices won't dissuade them.

In fact, Monday's terror attack will likely make the members of York's tight-knit running community even more determined to return for next year's Boston Marathon.

That's just how runners are -- particularly the dedicated and determined men and women who call themselves marathoners.

For many local runners, competing in the Boston Marathon becomes an obsession. Unlike other marathons, you must post a qualifying time to compete in Boston.

It's not easy. In fact, it's incredibly hard. It takes months, even years, of training. There will be aches and pains, injuries and exhaustion. Nearly every marathon runner, at one point or another, wants to quit.

If you can overcome all of that, and post the needed time, you can run in Boston, and face the challenge that is Heartbreak Hill.

It's become a rite of spring for many area runners. Each April, a couple dozen of them make the 400-mile journey from York to Boston to compete in the world's oldest annual marathon.

Some gutless terrorist is not going to keep them away.


"You can't crawl in a hole and hide," Springettsbury Township's Jan Workinger told The York Dispatch after finishing his first Boston Marathon. Workinger, 55, finished Monday's race in 3 hours, 37 minutes, 8 seconds, qualifying him to run in next year's Boston Marathon. The former president of the York Road Runners Club is planning on returning.

Another Springettsbury Township runner, Brian Petraco, displayed similar resolve after completing his first Boston Marathon on Monday in 3:16.18. The 24-year-old didn't qualify for next year's race, but he hopes to post a qualifying time in another marathon. If he does make the cut, Petraco said the attack would not prevent him from returning.

"As horrible as this attack is, it will not deter me from running this marathon again," he told the Dispatch. "You can't let terrorism keep you from doing what you want."

Those statements likely speak for nearly every York County man or woman who has run in the Boston Marathon.

They will be back.

You can count on that.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at