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'Run for Boston' helps runners everywhere cope with marathon horror (+video)

Runners across the US – and the world – have responded to the Boston Marathon bombings with a determination to 'keep on running' to show solidarity with Boston and the victims.

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Participants are being asked to post photos to the "Run For Boston 4/17" Facebook page, and the images will then be published as a coffee-table book and sent to the Boston Marathon organizers.

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This morning, several hundred runners set off from California's Santa Monica Pier on a hastily arranged marathon. Runners in Waco, Texas, planned a running vigil this evening, turning a regular Wednesday night run into something deeper and more profound.

“These marathon races are held for a reason, to support a cause, and runners aren’t going to stop working for the cause, even though this is ruining our security that we feel in our nation,” says Cissi Garrettson, the social secretary for the Waco Striders Running Club. “We’re running tonight for the memory and to honor those that were lost, and to show our respect for the running world. We need to stand together and continue to run.”

Marathon participation has continued to grow, as have the cash totals raised for charity from the events. And much like runners in Boston raced to hospitals to give blood after the bombs, stranded New York City Marathon runners volunteered in superstorm Sandy-struck communities last year after the storm flooded large parts of the city’s boroughs and canceled the race.

According to Guardian correspondent Owen Gibson, the late London Marathon organizer Chris Brasher nailed the unique spirit of the marathon after returning one year from the New York City Marathon to report, "To believe this story you must believe that the human race can be one joyous family, working together, laughing together, achieving the impossible. Last Sunday, [thousands of people from 40 countries], assisted by over a million people, laughed, cheered and suffered during the greatest folk festival the world has seen."

To have such communal, inspiring events struck by senseless violence shocked America and the world. But, in some ways, the marathon community might be better equipped to deal with the emotions than others.

“As you look at the act of running, there is this kind of very physical thing about running, that it will just eat up all those negative emotions that we have a hard time dealing with or don’t know how to express,” says Jill Scott, an expert on public mourning at Queens University in Ontario. “I can’t think of a better way to mourn than to run.”


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