Last night, one of the local running stores, 1st Place Sports, hosted a run in honor of Boston. It was a free event, open to all, and participants could pre-order “Runners for Boston” t-shirts for pick up before and after the run, with proceeds going to One Fund Boston.
Organizers expected about 150 participants and hoped to raise about $4,000 for One Fund. Instead, approximately 2,400 people showed up and over $40,000 was raised. Participants flooded the area, sporting the shirts they had ordered, the blue and yellow of the Boston Marathon, or patriotic apparel. Two gentleman arrived, bearing full sized American flags, which they carried throughout the entire run.
It was beautiful to see so many people coming together. It was a privilege to be a part of it.
Technically, I wasn’t 100% ready. I still have four more training sessions in the Couch 2 5K series, and I need it. However, this was an untimed, unofficial event, and I couldn’t see any reason not to participate. For me, the important thing was to be there, showing support, no matter what.
We have had some nasty rain and winds the last few days, but by race time, the clouds cleared and a hint of sunlight peeked through. Perfect. I was with a group of moms from little man’s class who live in my area. I also met up with the lovely Kristin, of A Mom on the Run. (She ran way ahead of me, but we caught up later).
The run began a little after the posted 6:30 start time, and we were off. It was pretty much nothing like I expected. There were so many people, running and walking. Some in groups, some alone, some with strollers and some with dogs. Some sprinted, some walked, some did a combination of the two. There were times when I just had to back off my pace because of a large group of walkers, and then sometimes I had to put on a burst of speed and weave through openings between people to get a clear spot. It was kind of unpredictable and gave me something to focus on other than the finish line and the sound of my own feet on the pavement.
There was something great about running with all these people. There was an energy in the air that I’ve never quite experienced. And everyone was just so supportive and encouraging. When the course doubled back on itself, people on both sides started cheering each on and offering up high-fives. It didn’t matter if you were at the front or the back of the pack. Everyone got the love. At the finish, the runners who were already completed stuck around to applaud for those who were finishing.
It was amazing.
Also awesome was that one of my group, E, who is an extremely accomplished (and fast) runner, stuck near me the whole time. She could have easily run rings around me, but it was reassuring to have her nearby.
I didn’t break any records. My Garmin showed 2.67 miles (the course was promoted as 3-5 miles long, and we all know my Garmin has been iffy on precise distance) and when I passed the race clock, the time was 32:31. I should have run my C25K app simultaneously to see how the two compared, but I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. Oh, and I did have to walk a little, when the roadway narrowed into a sidewalk and we hit congestion. It was only a minute or two, because the option was to run in the muddy grass, and well… no.
It was amazing. Thank you so much to 1st Place Sports for putting on an amazing event for a wonderful cause, and thank you to all the people who showed up in support of the victims of Boston Marathon attack. (If you are local to any of the 1st Place Sports locations and were unable to attend or did not have a chance to order a Runners for Boston shirt, they will be available in stores starting April 27.) It was an honor to be there.