North/ClybournLincoln Park/Old Town

Boston Marathon Photo Chicago
Chicago runners gather in Old Town on Monday night to raise money and
honor Boston Marathon bombing victims. (Photo/Angelica Robinson)

Chicago Runners Honor Boston Marathon Victims

By Angelica Robinson

PostedWednesday, Monday, April 22, 2013

Chicago runners supported victims the of the Boston bombings on Monday night at the "Runners for Boston" fun runs, on the one week anniversary of the bombing attack near the finish line that killed three and injured hundreds.

An estimated 400 runners gathered at Fleet Feet Sports' two Chicago locations for the three- and six-mile runs on a cool spring night.

Dave Zimmer, the owner of Fleet Feet, which sells running shoes and gear, said for many people, the Boston Marathon defines running.

For him, the attacks were personal. He was inspired to open his runner’s specialty store while at the Boston Marathon's 100th annual race in 1996, he said.

"It's a time for us to remember what happened a week ago and lace up our shoes and run in their [victims'] memory," Zimmer said.

Fleet Feet also hosts a 13-week training session called, "Boston Bound.” About 80 runners from Zimmer's training camp participated in the Marathon. Fortunately, none of his runners were injured in the attack.

Despite the tragedy Zimmer has no doubt that it won’t stop people from running marathons.

"I think the people who did the bombings don't know who they were messing with,” Zimmer said. “These are people who go out and put themselves in pain as a leisure sport."

Jessica Santone ran in the Boston Marathon for the fourth time last week. She said she already completed the race when the first bomb went off.

“I was on the phone with her mother letting her know how the race went,” she said. “Then I heard a loud noise.”

It wasn’t until news updates came to her phone that she realized that two bombs went off near the finish line on Boylston.  Santone said it was particularly devastating that this happened at such a critical place in the race.

"In Boston you come around this last turn at mile 26 and it’s this wall of noise … and you feel like an Olympian," she said. "It's hard to imagine that the people who helped me finish at mile 26 when I had nothing left were the ones who lost limbs a few hours later."

Santone was concerned about what the attacks would mean for runners and the future of marathons, including next October's race in Chicago. But seeing the outpouring of support was reassurance for her.

"Our community is resiliently stubborn,”Santone said. “People will keep coming out because that's what we do."

For Nicholas Aitken the bombings have inspired him to lace his running shoes up and start running again. Aitken, who said he was an avid runner, said the fun run was the first running event he participated in over a year.

“It just brings running to the forefront of everybody's mind,” Aitken said. “Running is a means to show supporting and coming together for a sense of community."


Boston Marathon T-Shirt Photo

The organization is raising money through T-shirt sales with "Runners for Boston" on them.
All of the profits from the  go to to support the victims of the bombing.
They’ve already raised $20,000. Read more.

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