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For Boston Marathon's charity runners, resolve and camaraderie unshaken

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the many athletes who run for charity are rallying around one another, their fundraising causes, and the larger Boston community.

By Cricket FullerStaff writer / April 22, 2013

Wearing his Boston Marathon runner's jacket, David Delmar (c.) a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Boston, attends a service at Temple Israel, which allowed the Trinity congregation to hold service, Sunday, in Boston. Trinity is within the blocked-off area near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Delmar, who finished the marathon about 30 minutes before the explosions, was running his first marathon as part of charity to Trinity.

Julio Cortez/AP

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Even before last Monday’s tragedy, the Boston Marathon meant more to Cary Gemmer than a grueling 26.2-mile run and a free jacket.

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A member of the Dana Farber Marathon challenge team, Ms. Gemmer has run for the past three years to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a cancer treatment and research center in Boston. “I couldn’t imagine running the marathon without being connected to the cause,” she says. “Everyone has a different story and reason for why they run, but we all have the same goal in mind.”

Gemmer isn’t alone. The terrorists who targeted the Boston Marathon with two bombs last Monday struck not only America’s most iconic footrace, but also the infrastructure of charities that has become increasingly intertwined with the event. This year, 144 teams totaling more than 2,000 runners were expected to raise more than $18 million for Boston-area charitable organizations ranging from cancer clinics to charter schools.

In the wake of the tragedy, these groups of charity runners are rallying around one another, their fundraising causes, and the larger Boston community. Many are already making plans for how, next year, their participation in the marathon will be stronger than ever.

Marathon fundraising: a popular trend

Running for charities has become an increasing feature of marathons nationwide over the past 25 years. The four largest US marathons – the New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Marine Corps (in Washington, D.C.) marathons – all have official charity programs. But the Boston Marathon, as the oldest and perhaps most prestigious American marathon, has led the way with the oldest charity program and the most money raised.

Charity runners and fundraising have been part of the essential fabric of the Boston marathon for 25 of its 117 years. Since the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) began a partnership with the American Liver Foundation in 1989, the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program partners have raised more than $133 million for local charities.

Outside the United States, the London Marathon, which was just held on Sunday, has raised more than £500 million for charity since 1981. The race also holds the Guinness world record for largest annual fundraising event in the world, a title it has held since 2007.

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Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
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