Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boston Strong Ohio

Photo by OHventures

On Monday, April 22, 2013, 100 cities across the country (as well as Paris, France), came together for the Boston Strong running events. These events were created (in a matter of days) in order to commemorate the one week mark since the horrific bombings that took place at the Boston Marathon and shook the nation.

Columbus, Westlake, Akron, and Cincinnati were 4 of those 100 cities, representing Ohio loud and proud. There was no fee to participate. There were no chip timers or starting guns. It was simply a race to show support for all of the victims - the runners, the spectators, first responders, and the human beings - who were affected by the tragedies that unfolded one week prior.

As the creator of the Boston Strong effort (Pavement Runner in San Francisco) put it, this global event can be described as:

A run for us to unite and show our strength.
A run for those that were unable to finish.
A run for those that may never run again.
A run for us to try and make sense of the tragedy that has forever changed something we love.

Being that I live in Columbus, I was able to take part in this touching and symbolic event that took place at Bicentennial Park downtown by the Scioto River. The running family of Columbus came out in full force on an absolutely gorgeous spring evening. There was not a cloud in the stunning blue sky, which set the tone for the 2-4 mile walk/run that was to take place at 6:45 PM. The event was what you made of it. You could run or walk, and go any distance you desired. The point was not to compete or to win, but rather to be a part of something greater and bigger.

Joe, Me, Steve

Me, Kristen, Mathew

Me & Ericka

While the reason for the event was somber, there were many smiles and laughs all around. These moments of joy were out of no disresepct, but rather spoke to the monumental and empowering spirit that runners have, and the passion and love we have for the sport, for our health, and for each other.

I ran side-by-side with my self-proclaimed "fitness friends" Kristen (who recently ran with me in the Glo Run and Fight For Air Stair Climb) and Mathew (who ran with me in the Oktoberfest Brat Trot and Arnold Pump & Run). On top of that, other friends of mine such as Christina from Yelp Columbus, Joe from Discover Ohio, and Ericka from ODOT were also present to participate!

Donning our blue and yellow bibs ("We are all Boston Marathoners at Heart"), Mathew, Kristen and I ran just shy of 4 miles along the Scioto River. The trees were in bloom and the air smelled amazing. A family of walkers carried American flags the whole way, which reminded us of the reason we were there that day. Despite having different levels of athletic abilities, the three of us worked together as a team to ensure that we would cross the "finish line" side by side. Even though I was incredibly tired earlier in the day, I was somehow energized and had one of the best runs I have had in a long time. There was definitely something in the air that guided us along!

Sara of Words to Run By, 2008 Boston Marathoner John Cox, and Kris of No Limits Running

#BostonStrongColumbus, as it was affectionately referred to, became possible thanks to the efforts of Sara from the local running blog Words To Live By and Kris of No Limits Running. It was a blessing in disguise getting the chance to meet these two awesome bloggers and runners through this event. I truly cannot express in words how thankful I am for their hard work for putting this together.

Many thanks also go to WSYX ABC 6 News for covering the story, and to Panera Bread and Max Muscle for providing food and drinks. 

It was great to be part of something so monumental and special for the people of Boston and the world. We all signed a poster board to show our support (shown below) which was a fantastic tribute. Let us not forget: We are all Boston Marathoners at Heart!

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