Athletes across America are showing support for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings by doing what unites them all – running.
Within hours of the deadly attacks in Boston, people took to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to organize group activities to show solidarity for fellow runners. Silent runs, color coordinated events and other gatherings are honoring the three killed and 176 injured in the bombings.
Run for Boston 4/17, one of the well-known Facebook events in response to the Boston Marathon attacks, quickly went viral after it was formed Monday afternoon. With over 16,600 "Likes" by Wednesday, the Facebook page has encouraged hundreds of people in cities across the nation to organize local events Wednesday in honor of Monday’s tragedy.
“On Wednesday, April 17th, runners, non-runners, and people who believe in hope and peace will run together as a sign of solidarity for the people and runners of Boston,” the Facebook page said.
Participants were instructed to wear blue or yellow, take a photo with a “Run for Boston” sign and to post the photo onto the Facebook page.
In Chicago, 100 locals met Tuesday evening, pausing for a moment of silence before beginning a 3-mile run – a mile in honor of each of the three people who died.
"The point is just to get runners together, whether they were in Boston or not, whether they're a beginning runner or a marathon runner, we're all impacted by what happened," Wendy Jaehn, the Executive Director of the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA), told NBC Chicago.
“A lot of us run for lots of different reasons, but running is also very healing," Jaehn added.
More than 70 people laced up Tuesday in San Mateo, Calif., and ran at a local high school track, where three pairs of shoes were placed on the sidelines.
The Miami Sports Commission held a silent run Tuesday night in respect to the victims of Monday’s attacks. Organized by the Baptist Health Brickell Run Club, the event started at 7 p.m. and gathered more than 1,000 people to run the 3.5-mile run together in honor of victims, NBC Miami reported.
The Miami Marathon, which is an official qualifier of the Boston Marathon, has considered refining and adjusting their own security plans after Monday’s blasts. Still, the sport will continue to prosper, said Frankie Ruiz, co-founder of the Miami Marathon and an organizer of the Silent Run.
“Running itself is just going to be that much stronger,” Ruiz said. “This doesn’t stop us, we’re going to keep doing what we do.”
The Dallas Running Club ran Tuesday night with a special bib that noted the date of the Boston Marathon, the Boston skyline and the words, "Runners United to Remember." Despite the tragedy, many of the runners still said their dream of running the historic Boston Marathon was still alive, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
People showed support in other ways. Some marathoners in Oregon wore their race shirts this week to show the strength of the runner community, “one made of people from all walks of life, all ages, and all races,” the RunOregon Facebook page said.
After Monday’s attacks, large cities around the world with upcoming marathons are taking precautionary steps to ensure the safety of those running and attending. The London Marathon, which is taking place this Sunday, is expected to have at least 500,000 spectators, and Prince Harry is due to hand medals to the winners, NBC News reported.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, said police were “taking more precautions than we might have done otherwise.”
In honor of the victims of the Boston bombing, runners at the London Marathon will be encouraged to wear a black ribbon at the start of the race and a 30-second silence will be observed, organizers said Wednesday.
“The very best way to show solidarity with Boston is to get out there on the streets of London to cheer the runners on and to show that we won’t be defeated by this sort of activity,” Hugh Roberston, a British government minister, told the London Evening Standard newspaper.
Photo Credit: NBC 5