From Boston to Bay Area, running tributes abound
Thousands of miles from the Boston Marathon bombings, distance runners shared in the sorrow.
To honor the victims and deal with their own emotions, they banded together Tuesday like runners do — by putting on their shoes and going for a jog.
The day after explosions near the finish line of one of the world’s most prestigious races killed at least three people, wounded so many more and shook the thousands who gathered to watch, middle-of-the-pack runners all over the country offered tributes.
The Twitter hashtag “runforboston” turned into a virtual meeting spot for a steady, somber stream of social media users eager to show solidarity with those hurt in the blasts — along with pride in their sport — by pounding the pavement, even for just a few miles.
Some Boston College students used Facebook to plan a walk of the marathon’s last five miles on Friday afternoon “to stand united” with runners who didn’t finish, bystanders who were injured and those who lost their lives.
“We will walk to show that we decide when our marathon ends,” the invitation read. As of mid-afternoon on Tuesday, more than 12,000 people clicked on “join” to signal their participation.
Mike Ewoldt, the co-owner of a running equipment store based in Omaha, Neb., had previously organized an informal run for Tuesday evening to test a new shoe brand. He shifted gears to turn the event into a memorial for the victims.
“Everybody looks at Boston as the pinnacle of running. First, you have to qualify and meet a standard to get to Boston. If you qualify, you have two years to run it. It is a one-time shot for a lot of them. They may never get this opportunity again,” Ewoldt said.
Ewoldt, like many in the massive community that is distance running, wanted to show he cared.
No other sport is so available to the public, with a good pair of shoes and a positive attitude all that’s needed to take part. Though the elites from Ethiopia and Kenya compete for big money in the most famous of the marathons, clicking off 5-minute miles, average athletes of all ages, backgrounds and sizes are behind them on the course running the very same race.
Then there are the tens of thousands of family members and friends who pack along the courses to clap for their loved ones and hustle through traffic jams to cheer at the next spot, and the locals who stand outside their houses to shout encouraging words to people they’ve never met.
Hallie Von Rock, a 36-year-old attorney from Alameda, Calif., planned to take time out of her work day to run six miles. She qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:27 but was unable to make this year’s race.
“After this happened, I thought, ‘I’ve got to do it.’ I think it would be good,” Von Rock said. “People train so hard for this, and their family and supporters are there in the stands, and a kid who was waiting for his dad. It’s terrible.”