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Students run in solidarity for Boston

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When bombs exploded at the finish line of The Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, the attack was felt especially hard by a community around the country and around the world: the running community.

“I watched the marathon on TV, but I heard of the bombing when my wife texted me while I was out,” said Scott Young, department chair on the Department of Management at DePaul and five-time Boston Marathon finisher.

“This was the worst thing to happen to a marathon. It was supposed to be a celebration and someone decided to ruin it,” said Young. “Someone chose that they would make a statement at the event. It angers me – whoever did this is despicable.”

With the Bank of America Chicago Marathon just under six months away and the New York City Marathon following a few weeks later, runners are rightly concerned for how the tragedies in Boston will affect the next major marathons in the U.S.

“Security will increase,” said Young. “The problem is that they can’t control when someone is walking by with a backpack like they did for this event.”

Jason Dement, 32, a senior relational communications major at DePaul, finished the Boston Marathon about an hour before the first bomb exploded. His wife began the marathon 20 minutes after he did and hadn’t finished by the time the pandemonium began.

“I was in the military, so I have experience with this kind of thing, but it’s different when you’re waiting for your wife to get back and she hasn’t,” said Dement.

Dement and his wife were reunited later and returned home safely. After Monday’s events, he already has Boston for next year in his mind, training now for another marathon to qualify for 2014.

“I have a feeling Boston will be even more popular next year for, for lack of a better word, a ‘f— you’ for whoever did this,” said Dement.

Most runners share the same sentiment. This only makes them want to run even more. DePaul students Dani Preback and Amanda Boleman have run Chicago in the past. Though not running The Chicago

Marathon this year, the events in Boston wouldn’t have changed their minds.

“The marathon is such an unexplainably amazing feeling, and I simply don’t want to live a life in fear,” said Prebeck, a junior marketing major.

“I was the person that said I never want to do a marathon again, but now I want to do it again,” said Boleman, journalism grad student. “We need to show that we shouldn’t be afraid to keep doing these things.”

Even through the support, however, there are concerns that plague runners now

that never did before.

“Horrible acts give people ideas, and that scares me,” said Jaime Bochantin, associate professor of communications at DePaul and 10-time Chicago Marathon finisher. She’s running in the New York City Marathon for the first time this year.

“Right now, I’m scared to run New York,” said Bochantin. “I’m already registered, and it stresses me out. I can’t let my running group and charity down at this point.”

Still in a state of shock over the tragedy, the events hit Bochantin hard, as she is an active member of the running community.

Eager to support their fellow runners, the running community in Chicago and around the country is banding together to raise money and run for those in Boston.

Fleet Feet Chicago will host “Runners for Boston” Monday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at both Old Town and Lincoln Square locations. Runs will begin at each store, giving participants the option to run from three to six miles. Fleet Feet, according to its website, is urging runners to wear blue and yellow, the official colors of the Boston Marathon, or past race gear in support.

“It’s a run solely to raise money for a remembrance and to commemorate what happened in Boston,” said Dement.

Fleet Feet Chicago will be selling “Run for Boston” shirts for $20 at the run with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting One Fund Boston, the official charity dedicated to raising funds for the families most affected by the tragedy.

For runners that can’t make this run or that don’t live in Chicago, many virtual options have been popping up as well.

The NYCRUNS Virtual 5K takes place at any time between now at 2:50 p.m. April 22, the one-week mark of the explosion. NYCRUNS tells its participants to complete a 5K and submit their times by Tuesday, April 23, and winners will be selected at random. The participation fee for the virtual race is $25, all proceeds benefitting The One Fund Boston as well.

With demand to run The Chicago Marathon higher than ever this year, it’s still unknown if runners will be dropping out of the race. Details on increased security measures have yet to be discussed by The Chicago Marathon, unavailable for comment at this time. It seems, however, that the running community stands with a sense of solidarity like never before.

“After reflecting on the events in Boston, I don’t see how I could not run (the New York City Marathon),” said Bochantin a day after her original comments. “I don’t want this event to stop me from doing what I love. I have been running for years before this happened and I will certainly continue running long after.”

Everyone will keep running for Boston.

“There are so many emotions running through your mind when you are about to cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles,” said Carly Grant, two-time Chicago Marathon runner and senior at the University of Iowa. “But fear shouldn’t be one of them.”

About the Writer
Courtney Jacquin, Editor in Chief

Courtney was editor in chief in 2014-2015. Before that Courtney was the Managing Editor and Arts & Life Editor. You can follow her on twitter @courtneyjacquin

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Students run in solidarity for Boston