One by one, runners from all over Ann Arbor and metro Detroit crossed the one-mile mark at the Diag. There were no fists in the air, no cheers from the crowd. Instead, there were thoughts of those who had lost or were fighting for their lives after the events following the Boston Marathon.
Wearing marathon bibs that uniformly read “We are all Boston Marathoners at Heart,” runners came together Saturday morning for a Solidarity Run — circling a one-mile loop as many times as they could in support of victims of the bombings and shootings in Boston.
Three people — including eight-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and graduate student Lu Lingzi — were killed and over 170 people were wounded after a terrorist attack involving several bombs at the race’s finish.
In conjunction with numerous other solidarity runs being held across the country, Public Policy graduate student Jimmy Schneidewind organized the event to give an opportunity for local runners to show Boston runners that they stood with them.
About 200 runners participated in the run, including some who ran in the April 15 Boston Marathon. The logged a combined 543 miles.
Schneidewind said the call for the event was natural because running has a feel of community and camaraderie absent from any other sport.
“When people run in races, it’s not a competition; typically, you are trying to beat your own time,” Schneidewind said. “Runners don’t feel badly about helping each other during a race or cheering for one another because they just want to see everyone do well.”
In Boston, runners were a part of an inseparable community. The community showed itself to be tight-knit in Ann Arbor as well, Schneidewind said.
“Part of the people that will show up today will do so because they saw runners in Boston going through something difficult and it resonated with them,” he said. “They wanted to stand up for their running brethren.”
Many University students participated in the run. LSA freshmen Grace Carbeck — who has family in Boston — and Mike Lokey said they were running in memory and support of everyone in Boston who were victims or witnesses of the violence.
Ann Arbor resident Lindy Alfaro said as she ran, she was keeping in mind friends who ran in the Boston Marathon or lived on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which was the location of a police officer’s death Thursday night.
“After everything they’ve gone through, we’re showing that we support them,” Alfaro said with tears in her eyes. “People who run Boston usually work so hard all year to train for it, and to have such a tragic event happen and have people get hurt is just unthinkable.”
Schneidewind said Saturday’s event would show that, despite the disaster in Boston, Americans are resilient in face of terror.
“This is not going to be something that is divisive or makes people turn on each other, but it’ll be something that brings us together.”
—Follow Amrutha Sivakumar on Twitter at @xamrutha.