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.
(Page 3 of 3)
Several runners who were turned back within a mile of the finish spoke of confusion – but also an overriding sense of disappointment at not being able to finish the race. As events became clear, this disappointment was put in perspective, and for many, has turned into resolve.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Learning from the Boston Marathon bombings
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
“Many people were very sad that they weren’t able to finish race,” Gemmer says. But “the overall sense that I’ve heard from my friends [is that] we’ll be back next year and we’ll have a lot to celebrate,” she adds.
Lauren Gainor, campaign manager for the New England division of the American Liver Foundation, says she reached out Tuesday to reassure her team of runners – many of whom also did not finish the race. “We run for something bigger than ourselves,” she told them. "The point why we run is about our mission, about hope.”
Ms. Gainor says that spirit of service came to the forefront on marathon day, recounting stories of team members giving clothes to other runners who were cold and caring for those in need.
Bombing’s impact on charities – and their response
Last Monday’s events have spurred not just this desire to serve the Boston community, but also a recommitment by charity runners to their fundraising causes – and next year’s marathon.
Fundraising deadlines for most groups are roughly a month away from the race date. While some participants have met their goals, many have not. Gemmer, who met her fundraising goal of $6,425, is still planning to hold another fundraising event and says she’s seen in the past week a lot of social media activity to support her cause.
One runner who ran for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind has not yet met her fundraising goal. She had reached mile 25.5 when the explosions hit, and she and other runners were forced to turn back. On Tuesday, she said a friend posted a note on Facebook encouraging people to donate to her campaign in light of events.
Ms. Sicuso of the BAA expects many of the charity runners “will feel very motivated” now. Gainor, of the American Liver Foundation, reports seeing “consistent momentum” in donations since last Monday, as do other charities. She’s also seen an “overwhelming response” from people interested in running for the team next year – everyone from alumni and older participants to new runners looking to join.
“People want to do something beyond themselves. They want to help. They want to make a comeback,” Gainor says. “One way to do that is running with a charity.”
Many charity teams plan to be involved, both collectively and individually, with events to benefit those affected by the bombing. As Gemmer says, “While people are thinking about their charities, they’re also thinking about how they can be helpful to the Boston community and those affected by the tragedy.”
Gemmer says her team, too, is already looking ahead to next year’s run. “The sense of community and kindness people feel on Patriots Day and Marathon Monday … that will continue,” she says.
RECOMMENDED: Quiz: How much do you know about terrorism?