Runners are urged to head out with friends and go for a run on Wednesday to support the people affected by the Boston Marathon bombing.
For runners across the country, the devastating attack on Marathon Monday hit close to home. Watching the events unfold on a television from halfway across the country, Texas-based runner Chris Fields said, “It felt personal. Those were our people at the finish. That was our family.”
Fields, the race director of the Bryan/College Station Marathon, decided to cope with the tragedy in a familiar way: by running. His initial plan was to foster healing and bolster support by way of a local run, but he quickly realized that the need for solidarity extended outside of his community. “People all over were looking for a tangible way of doing something instead of just sitting there,” he explained.
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Overnight, he devised a plan to spread the message of a remembrance run on a national level. Tuesday morning, Fields created a Facebook page for Run for Boston 4/17. The idea is simple: Runners anywhere can participate by gathering a few friends, dressing in blue or yellow and running together any time on Wednesday. The page also encourages runners to take a picture with a “Run for Boston” sign and post it online.
Within 12 hours of going live, the page attracted over 10,000 likes, and it had more than 18,000 when this story was posted midday Wednesday (ET). In order to track the runs happening across the country, Fields linked a Google map for runners to drop pins on the locations of their planned events. “I had no idea that there was a limit of locations per map,” says Fields. By Tuesday evening, the runs were spread out over three pages.
Fields says he hopes that running together helps individuals grieve and heal, and that the positive impact of the movement will carry over into Boston as well. He will turn the “Run for Boston” photos into a book for the Boston Athletic Association, the organization that puts on the Boston Marathon. “I want to let them know: we’re there for you and we support you.”
For more information on Run for Boston, or to share your photo, click here.
About the Author:
Jessie Sebor is the editor-in-chief of Women’s Running magazine. Follow her on Twitter @jessiesebor