The bombings at the Boston Marathon may have disrupted one race and caused the loss of life and hundreds of injuries in just one city, but in reality, it affected the rest of the country. Fellow runners, in particular, have felt a kinship to the marathoners because they know about the hard work and dedication it takes to train for races as well as the importance of support from our friends and relatives who watch our races. And what better way for fellow runners across the nation to show solidarity and pay tribute to those in Boston than taking part in a group run.
Thanks to the coordination of Ryan Callahan of Philadelphia Runner, one of the city’s premier running stores, Philly had a citywide group run in support of Boston. We were far from the only city to take part, as many cities showed their support, but our participation was pretty impressive. What started during Tuesday afternoon planning as just a small scale gathering of three or four running groups eventually grew to thirty running clubs, stores and organizations taking part. Groups were to run from specific meet-up spots to City Hall before running to Independence Mall. South Philadelphia’s meet up spot had 75-80 runners alone, and City Hall’s courtyard hosted a gathering of about 3,000 runners.
At City Hall, Ryan said a few words to thank all the groups and individuals for participating. The idea was to come together and respectfully pay tribute to Boston. Ryan also urged everyone to not give in to fear and to keep running and taking part in races.
Afterwards, everyone ran down Market Street towards Independence Mall. Thanks to the cooperation of the City of Philadelphia, police shut down Market Street traffic for a short period of time to allow everyone to run safely on the street. Running down Market Street on a weekday with no traffic is somewhat surreal. It was like the scene in Vanilla Sky when Times Square is empty.
All in all, it was a happy, supportive and amazing experience for all the runners. We hope Boston feels the love.