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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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Worldwide running community shows support for Boston

 
 

What started as a Facebook page 9 a.m. Tuesday quickly evolved into a global effort to show support for those affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, hundreds of running groups gathered in College Station and around the world to run for Boston wearing yellow and blue – the colors of the Boston Marathon.
The event went viral, getting attention across the globe from countries such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Germany, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela.
Participants were encouraged to take a picture with their running group with a “Run For Boston” sign with their city, state and country written on it and then post it to the official Facebook page.
“It was really just about encouraging people to stand together and say ‘We’re not going to let fear win,'” said Mike Nugent, owner of Brazos Running Company and Class of 1990. “We’re going to do what we can do as runners – we run. We wanted to do that and we wanted to do it in honor of the families and the victims in Boston.”
Chris Field, director of the Bryan-College Station Marathon, created the Facebook page “Run For Boston 4/17” – which had tallied 23,703 “likes” at time of press – to bring people together to run.
“This is what runners do when life gets tough – we lace up our shoes and go run,” Field wrote on the Facebook page. “This is the best way we know how to show Boston our support right now and begin the healing process for all of us.”
The idea of having a set event for the running community evolved from having an official race to having runners throughout the day meet with a running group.
“On Monday, we were wanting to do a race just for the community that was grieving, which is the running community, and really the country,” Nugent said. “We thought about doing something maybe the next week. But early [Tuesday] morning [Chris] Field called and suggested that instead of some big race where we all try to get together and shut down roads, let’s just have runners run. Let’s just get the idea out on the Internet and see if people will grasp onto it.”
The Run For Boston organizers said they were initially going to have a group-run in the morning and one in the evening, but because of the large response, they decided to make it a daylong event.
“Within 30 minutes [of posting the event online] the response was so overwhelming,” Nugent said. “We basically said ‘Listen, we’re going to run every 30 minutes and if you want a group to run with, there will be someone leaving from this store all day long.'”
In College Station, runners from all levels – beginners to collegiate – met at Brazos Running Company to run together and honor those in Boston.
The first run at Brazos Running Company started at 5:30 a.m. with a group of 117 runners. The second had about 80 runners and the next had about 50, Nugent said.
The entire turnout was estimated around 500 runners, Nugent said.
The running loop organized in College Station honoring the Boston Marathon was coincidentally 2.62 miles – mirroring the 26.2 miles in a marathon.
“Divine intervention, right?” said Dan McClain, co-owner of Brazos Running Company and an organizer for the running group. “It just worked out that way. When I took the first group out at 5:30 this morning, we kind of knew the route we were going to run. We didn’t know exactly [the distance] it was, but when I got back and hit ‘stop,’ it was exactly 2.62 [miles], so it kind of became symbolic after that.”
McClain planned to run the distance of an entire marathon throughout Wednesday by running the loop 10 times.
Participants of the event said Run For Boston reinforces the running community as a whole.
“Just because people there were directly affected by the bombings in Boston doesn’t mean that we can’t join them in spirit and unification and support,” said Dusty Langwell, Class of 2010. “There are people who I’ve never met before that were on the run with me. It brings a lot of people that are connected in some way to running as a whole, and everybody’s coming out for it and showing their support.”
James Hodges, senior sport management major, said he was excited to see the amount of people who showed up to run throughout the day to represent the running community.
“It was really cool getting together with a group of people in honor of such a tragedy in the running community,” he said. “It was really a stance against the evil that was trying to diminish the running spirit in the community.”

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