Area runners, both novice and professionals, took part in the 11-day trans-American One Run For Boston relay for bombing victims that started in Los Angeles California and ended Sunday in Boston Massachusetts.
The event, organized by UK running enthusiasts Kate Treleaven, Danny Bent and Jamie Hay, raised over 80,800 dollars for the bombing victims of the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Hundreds of runners from across the USA keep the relay going non-stop around the clock through fourteen different states and four separate time zones, passing a specially designed baton between them.
Friday morning, local runners took their turns carrying the relay baton as it traveled through parts Schuylkill, Carbon and Northampton counties.
The entire relay, which ended Sunday in Boston involved over 300 stages, 1,000 runners and 3,300 miles. Support runners were also encouraged to run with the relay runner.
During the relay, relayers would stop at each stage and pass the baton to the next runner(s), who will run the baton to the next stage. Some local stages included Mahanoy City, Tamaqua, Snyders, Ashfield, Walnutport, Bath and Easton.
"This event gave me the chance to show support and represent the victims," said relayer Karen McLaughlin, who received the half-millionth place recognition during the 2012 Boston Marathon. "We're not going to let anybody break our spirit no matter what. We're Boston strong."
Supporters were be able to follow the baton's progress online thanks to a GPS Ninja Tracking device fitted to the baton that updated its location every 15 minutes.
"We (Step-N-Stride Women's Running group of Minersville) were quick to get involved as soon as we heard about it," said Karen Graeff. "Two of our group's trainers, Jenn Burgess and Sandi Bergan, took part in this year's Boston Marathon. Burgess missed the bombing by about 30 minutes, while Bergan missed the bombing by 15 minutes. They run the Boston Marathon every year."
"This is for an amazing cause," said Jenn Wargo, 32, of Downingtown, who was the relayer between Snyders and Ashfield. "It is fun too."
"In addition to the victims, I ran for the city of Boston," said Mickey Schneider, 24, of Northhampton. Schneider, who lived in Boston or two years while attending college, added, "Plus, this is a great way to get in shape." Schneider ran with friends Ryan Wagner and Jonathan Myers. "I can relate to all the work done in all the emergency rooms in and around Boston the day of the bombing," said Myers, who serves as a patient care assistant with St. Luke's Health Network.
"One Run For Boston was a chance for runners to come together and show solidarity in a really dynamic way" said Kate Treleaven. "It's represented something remarkable, demonstrating the strength of human spirit and send a powerful message of support to the city of Boston and those whose lives changed on April 15."
By collecting donations from each of the participating runners, the relay is raising money for The One Fund Boston, set up by the Mayor of Boston to assist the victims and families most seriously affected by the bombings.
The relay traveled through the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and finally, Massachusetts. Most of the 319 stages were around ten miles with a few as long as 26 miles and some group staged in the big cities just five miles. Runners were able to sign up to run a stage via the One Run For Boston Website (www.onerunforboston.org ).