Thousands of athletes ran or walked the final mile of the Boston Marathon on Saturday. They took to the streets of Boston a little more than a month after a twin bombings killed three people and injured hundreds more.
Along with athletes, victims of the Boston Marathon bombings also took to the street to reclaim the triumph of crossing the finish line that was so horrifically taken from them last month.
The event, called OneRun, started at Kenmore Square and finished at the official finish line, where more than 3,000 participants hugged and cheered. They were undeterred by light rain, according to spokeswoman Kathleen McGonacle.
OneRun was organized to honor the victims and emergency workers from the bombings, as well as allowing runners to reclaim the final mile of the historic Boston Marathon. McGonagle added:
“For the runner that didn’t get the chance to finish the marathon, this is the chance for them to experience the final mile that was taken away from them.”
The OneRun event was not a fundraiser. Still, donations from some corporate sponsors helped cover operating costs. Any leftover funds will be sent to the charity benefiting bombing victims. One athlete, Rosy Spraker, was half a mile from the finish line on April 15, when twin pressure cooker bombs exploded.
While she received her medal in the mail, she couldn’t bring herself to wear it until she returned for OneRun. After she crossed the Boylston Street finish line, Spraker stated, “Now I feel like I’ve earned my medal. I wanted to run for the victims, for freedom, to show the world that nothing is going to stop us.”
Along with reclaiming the final mile of the Boston Marathon, OneRun was a chance to heal from the events of April 15. OneRun organizer J. Alain Ferry, who wasn’t able to complete the race in April, ran the final mile on Saturday. He stated of the experience, “It was very emotional to run down this street and see all the people cheering.”
Before OneRun began, the National Anthem was sung by the choir from St. Ann Parish, where eight-year-old victim Martin Richard’s family worshiped.
[Image via Aaron “tango” Tang]