Within a day or so I came across this movement organized by San Francisco running blogger, Pavementrunner, called "#BostonStrong____". The idea was to meet up with fellow runners a week after the bombing and run together in memory and honor of those in Boston. Any pace, any distance.
I thought that this was a brilliant idea, and I couldn't wait to attend the Pittsburgh event. However when I checked the list I saw that no Pittsburgh event existed! So, I decided I had to change that. Pittsburghers are givers. We help each other. So I immediately added Pittsburgh as the 16th city to join the movement, created a #BostonStrongPGH facebook page and started inviting everyone I knew, and trying to get the word out. Within a few hours I was contacted by Kevin Smith, the owner of one of the local running specialty stores. He had been asked to organize an event and wanted to know if they could piggyback their run with the #BostonStrongPGH run. I told him that we would LOVE to partner with the store - the more people the merrier! Not long after that the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club also decided to join us for our run!
At that point I knew the event had the potential to be big so I decided to collect funds for Boston's ONE FUND. Initially Kevin was considering selling tshirts, but decided against it in order to eliminate the cost of purchasing the shirts, thus ensuring that 100% of the donations would go directly to One Fund instead of just a portion.
Upon checking the pavement runner website that day I found that there were now OVER 100 CITIES that were hosting #BostonStrong events! New York, Baltimore, Orlando, Paris, London! The thing had gone global!!! It was amazing!
I invited my sister Megan to come along for moral support and we showed up about 30 minutes prior to start time. When we first arrived at our location we only saw 2 or 3 other runners - 2 were wearing official 2013 Boston Marathon gear, so I knew that they had probably been there during the attack. It was kind of amazing to see them here now. But I started to get worried that no one was going to show up. Until people started to trickle down the stairs and appear on the trail. The weather was gorgeous, the sky was clear, the city looked beautiful, and everyone was wearing the Boston Marathon colors of blue and yellow. My friend Katy also showed up and I finally met fellow blogger Adrian in real life (even though I feel like I've known her for a long time)! And even though my friend Susan (of MomSwimBikeRun) couldn't make it due to the "Mom" portion of her life, she had her own #BostonStrongPGH event!
As more people began to gather I was approached by news reporters from both WPXI (NBC) and KDKA (CBS). They already knew my name, which was kind of weird. They both interviewed me and asked me how the event came to be. I did pretty extensive interviews with both stations and I was hoping they would mention One Fun on the air, however after the cuts only a few seconds of my interview made it onto WPXI on the 11pm and 6am news, and they cut out the part about One Fund. The other station went with a different approach and covered the fact that 2 local runners had been present in Boston. I was a little disappointed that it seemed like they were exploiting these people instead of informing the public how to donate to One Fund... but thats the news media for you.
|interview with Gordon Loesch from WPXI|
|After the announcements there was a moment of silence|
And then it was time to run. So I packed the donations away tightly in my bag and we set off for a nice little run.
Megan, Katy and I started off together, but I quickly fell behind everyone else. It didn't matter though - I'm slow, but I still go. And really, who cares? I was just so beyond pleased with the turn out! We estimated around 300+ people turned out. We raised nearly $2000 in donations - $1000 collected there and another $1000 from Elite Runners and Walkers running store.
The turn out was better than I had hoped for! It really was a true testament to how strong and supportive the running community is. And even though I'm probably one of the slowest members, I'm still proud to be a part of it.