No other sport is so available to the public, with a good pair of shoes and a positive attitude all that’s needed to take part. Though the elites from Ethiopia and Kenya compete for big money in the most famous of the marathons, clicking off 5-minute miles, average athletes of all ages, backgrounds and sizes are behind them on the course running the very same race.
Then there are the tens of thousands of family members and friends who pack along the courses to clap for their loved ones and hustle through traffic jams to cheer at the next spot, and the locals who stand outside their houses to shout encouraging words to people they’ve never met.
Hallie Von Rock, a 36-year-old attorney from Alameda, Calif., planned to take time out of her work day to run six miles. She qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:27 but was unable to make this year’s race.
“After this happened, I thought, ‘I’ve got to do it.’ I think it would be good,” Von Rock said. “People train so hard for this, and their family and supporters are there in the stands, and a kid who was waiting for his dad. It’s terrible.”
The See Jane Run store in nearby Oakland, Calif., planned a 3-mile candlelight-and-flashlight vigil for Thursday night. In West Virginia, the Huntington Road Runners organized a 2.6-mile run for the evening, starting at Marshall University.
Ricky Campbell, the secretary of the 150-member club, said candles will be lighted prior to the start. Campbell said he ran the Boston Marathon in 2012 and was supposed to repeat the feat this year but couldn’t make it work.
“In my eyes, I can still see it,” Campbell said. “I’m thanking God that He made me not have plans to be in Boston Monday, to make me stay home. I couldn’t imagine being in that at the moment.”