Serena Burla, cancer survivor, unhurt in Boston Marathon

There's no sweetness-and-light story to be had out of this day's horror in Boston. So this post is not that.

Still, cancer survivor and first-time Boston Marathoner Serena Burla may have experienced a blessing in disguise: this elite professional runner didn't finish the course.

Cancer tried to end Burla's running days three years ago. What she thought was an injured hamstring proved to be a synovial sarcoma, according to an April 15 report on the Boston's Surgeons at Sloan-Kettering removed a malignant tumor along with the dominant muscle in Brula's right hamstring. She was told she would never run again.

But she did run--not just well enough to jog around the park on Sunday but to compete last year in the Olympic trials and the New York Marathon. By the time she was invited to run in Boston, Burla was rated number four among US women marathoners.

On Monday, however, the race didn't go Burla's way. For reasons not yet clear, she ended her marathon somewhere beyond the halfway mark. I hope the problem was nothing more than a stubbed toe. But how strange to feel relieved on Burla's behalf. Who knew that one day we might be glad a runner missed a finish line?