Thousands Turn Out for Boston’s Run to Remember to Honor First Responders
Poignant May 26 event one of first road races in downtown Boston since Boston Marathon tragedy
Posted Tuesday, 28 May, 2013
BOSTON (May 27, 2013) – Runners turned out in record numbers at the Boston’s Run to Remember on Sunday to honor law enforcement officers, first responders and others who run toward the danger, not away from it.
The ninth annual charity event, created as a tribute to Massachusetts law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, took on added poignancy this year in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy in April.
Runners wore their own bibs in front as well as a special bib on their backs to honor MIT police Officer Sean Collier, who was ambushed and killed by the Boston Marathon bombers. The bib included the name and badge number 179 of Collier, who had told friends he was planning to take part in the race this year along with scores of other Boston law enforcement officers.
During the opening ceremony, Cecil Jones, president of the Boston Police Runner’s Club, which organizes Boston’s Run to Remember, asked runners to remember Collier during their run. “You all should have Sean Collier’s number on your back,” said Jones, a Boston detective. “It’s one way to remember what Sean Collier did, the sacrifice that he made.”
Jones’ remark brought a roar of applause from the mass of half marathon runners who contended with unseasonably chilly temps, mist and wind gusts along their 13.1-mile trek through Boston. With a record breaking total of 10,728 registrants, 6,340 runners completed the half marathon while another 2,423 crossed the finish line in the 5-mile race. The 8,803 finishers shattered last year’s record of 7,400 finishers.
Boston’s Run to Remember (www.bostonsruntoremember.com) filled to capacity much sooner this year. In the week following the horrific events at the Boston Marathon, more than 3,000 runners signed up in a show of support for the city and for the heroes of that tragedy. On Sunday, “Boston Strong” t-shirts in a rainbow of colors and variations were the dominant attire, often personalized with heartfelt messages.
“It was tremendous seeing the runners, not only from Boston, but from throughout the country and around the world, come out and really show their support for the law enforcement community and first responders,” Race Director Steve Balfour said.
While the event was mainly comprised of runners from the Boston area and across Massachusetts, the field breakdown included runners from 16 countries on five continents as well as 44 U.S. states plus D.C. Boston police officers were joined by contingents of fellow officers from departments in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and Albany. The current Massachusetts Transit Police Academy class ran the half marathon as a group, chanting in unison at the finish, “How strong? Collier strong!”
The race took on a special meaning this year, said Balfour, who described the mood of the runners not as somber, but as respectful and determined. “You could tell from the reactions during the opening ceremony that there were obviously some really strong feelings and emotions” among the runners, he said.
Security also was tighter than it had ever been. Police and security personnel checked bags and limited access to the start and finish areas. Runners were told to keep their belongings in clear plastic bags. The loop courses start at the Seaport World Trade Center and wind through historic downtown Boston, with the half marathon continuing across Longfellow Bridge and along Memorial Drive in Cambridge before looping back.
Out on the course, the most stirring moment for many runners occurred as they approached a water stop in front of M.I.T., where Collier worked, and were greeted by 50 squad cars with flashing lights lining both sides of the course, police officers standing alongside exchanging high fives with passing runners as a jumbo banner marked the tribute to Officer Collier.
Boston Police Department bagpipes also played at the start and along the course.
Winners of the individual categories included (Full results are available at Cool Running):
Half Marathon – Tyler Andrews, 23 of Concord, Mass. (1:07:02) and Alyson Millett, 25, Charlestown, Mass. (1:21:04).
5-Mile Run – Joe Shaw, 31, Cambridge, Mass. (28:59) and Anna Novick, 24, Cambridge, Mass. (32:42).
Law Enforcement Team Challenge – Half Marathon – Los Angeles Police Department
Boston’s Run to Remember is produced by a handful of police officers and detectives, who volunteer their time to create, organize and manage the race. Proceeds benefit the children’s programs of the Boston Police Runner’s Club. For those who did not run this year but want to take part, donations may be made to Boston’s Run to Remember and sent to P.O. Box 760670, Melrose, MA 02176.
Additionally, there are a number of charities who also use the race as a fundraising effort for their programs, including the Alzheimer's Association where Balfour also works as Director of Special Events. Balfour lost his mother to Alzheimer's and is proud that Boston’s Run to Remember also is able to raise significant funds for the vital programs offered by the Alzheimer’s Association.
“This event is a testament to our city, to the first responders and to the volunteers who continue to make a difference at this time,” Jones said. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims, all first responders, the volunteers and organizers of the Boston Marathon and all families impacted. On behalf of the law enforcement community, we thank you for your support. Together we are Boston Strong and will be forever."