One Run helps bombing victims
They had ties to neither Boston nor the United States, but as three friends in England watched news of the attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last year, they wanted to help.
With the idea to organize a non-stop, cross-country relay called One Run for Boston, 35-year-old Kate Treleaven sat at a computer on her kitchen table in Devon, England, and plotted a 3,328-mile route from Los Angeles to Boston using Google Maps and Map My Run. Treleaven, Danny Bent and James Hay then took to social media to promote the fundraiser in the weeks following the bombings.
They enlisted participants to run the various legs, gathered money and in June 2013 raised $91,000 for The One Fund, benefitting victims of the Boston attack.
“We’d heard about the One Fund, we knew we could donate money, we looked into our bank accounts and knew there wasn’t much there to make a difference,” said Treleaven, who, along with Bent, follows the relay by car and runs with participants along the way. “But what we did have was time, energy and enthusiasm. It grew into something much bigger than we’d ever hoped for. The first one was 319 stages, and we thought if we could just get 319 people that would be awesome, and we had 2,000.”
The goal this year is to raise $1 million for The One Fund. The second One Run for Boston passed through Pittsburgh on Tuesday afternoon after crossing into Pennsylvania in the early-morning hours.
Roughly 40 runners participated in a 4.5-mile loop beginning and ending at North Shore Riverfront Park, organized by 31-year-old Danielle Yeager of Brighton Heights before Kristy Brown took the baton and carried it to the next handoff point on Forbes Avenue.
Brown, 35, of the Strip District had run 13 marathons before she qualified for Boston last year. She crossed the finish line and was with her family just blocks from where the bombs went off, she said.
Brown was part of the last year’s One Run for Boston group run in Pittsburgh, then signed up to a run a segment on her own this year.
“It was just cool to know that you were part of raising money for the families that were affected,” she said.
Joe Church, 62, of Marshall was scheduled to get the baton later in the day, running it from Harrison City to Delmont near his hometown of Greensburg.
Church ran the Boston Marathon in 2007 and 2010, and both times his wife sat near the finish line about 100 to 200 feet from where the explosions occurred, Church said. She died in February 2013, and had Church’s niece not gotten a last-minute job interview the day of the Boston Marathon, the pair would have been at Church’s wife’s favorite spot watching the race.
“Being a runner, that was very emotional, of course,” said Church, who carried the baton for a leg near State College in 2013. “When this came along I was really looking for something that gave me an outlet, something to work toward.
“This year, it’s more about accomplishing this goal and raising money for the people who were injured and will have lifelong medical expenses.”
The relay started March 16 in Santa Monica, Calif. Participants were chased by coyotes in the New Mexico desert and had to take cover from a tornado-producing storm in St. Louis, Bent said. They will exit Pennsylvania late Thursday or early Friday, enter New Jersey and continue to Boston, arriving at Copley Square on Sunday, two days before the one-year anniversary of the bombings.
They expect to be joined by more than 800 runners, including survivors of the attack, for the last few miles.
“That could have been me running and my parents watching on the sideline, or it could have been my parents running and me watching,” Bent said.
“Who picks on a group of people trying to do a good thing? It just didn’t sit right, and I couldn’t work it out in my brain. I just knew we had to do something about it.”
To donate, visit their website at onerunforboston.org.
Karen Price is a former freelancer.