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Sports Fans Send Message to Terrorists

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On April 15, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 250. Within moments, the joy and excitement of the spectators lining Boylston Street turned to shock and horror, and the lives of the victims were changed forever.

But you didn't have to be in Boston to be affected. The entire country shared in the heartbreak, in part because the attack occurred at an open, public place where thousands were gathered in celebration. Exactly the kind of place we've all been to many times before, like a Memorial Day parade or a concert on the Fourth of July.

With so many touched by the tragedy, will participants and spectators stay away from large sporting events in the future?

That scenario seems unlikely, despite the widespread anger and pain. Or perhaps because of it.

Interest in qualifying for next year's Boston Marathon is already 15 to 20 times higher than any point since 2008, based on Google trend analysis performed by the Web site RunTri.com.

Runner's World reports that registrations for late August and September marathons have surged nationwide as runners hope to lock down qualifying times before the Boston Marathon registration window opens in September.

Clearly, people are running toward Boston and other marathons, not away from them.

Competitor Group, which owns and operates the popular Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, has already held several events over the last month, including Rock 'n' Roll races in Nashville, Madrid and Portland. In those cities, it appears that few people, if any, viewed the bombings as a reason to stay home.

"We saw great crowds in Nashville, even though we had four inches of rain on that day," says Josh Furlow, senior vice president of operations.

"Let's face it," says Amby Burfoot, editor-at-large of Runner's World magazine and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon. "The bombs in Boston have focused more world attention on that race than it or any other marathon has ever known. And while it was a horrible terrorist act, people have ended up feeling good about the way that Boston citizens, Boston first responders and everyone came together to catch the perpetrators."

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