Cleveland area preparing to ‘Run Now’ in support of Boston bombing victims
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Jun 13, 2013 | 841 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland is gearing up to “Run Now” next week in support of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15.

Organizers met Monday morning to finalize the event slated for the afternoon of June 19 on the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway at the big yellow chair art piece on Raider Drive. The event begins at 4 p.m., two months from the day bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured.

United Way of Bradley County President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Ryerson, who is an avid runner, hosted the meeting.

“We are getting close to being prepared,” he said. “We just need help with getting good weather.”

There is no way of gauging how many walkers, runners and riders will register on the day of the event. However, “Run Now” struck a chord with about 15 vendors who will offer inflatables, face painting, food, refreshments, information and T-shirts with the “RUN NOW” logo.

“Everything else seems to be in place with inflatables for children. The course is laid out, we’re still recruiting volunteers, the sponsor signs are being produced and chalk has been donated for the sidewalk messages to Boston,” Ryerson said. “We are preparing judges for the chalk contest and the banner has been placed at the site. We’ve arranged for parking with Cleveland High School and Cleveland Utilities is providing electricity.”

The day begins at 4 p.m. with family time for taking advantage of vendor services, children’s activities and chalk messages. The walk, run and ride events begin at 6 p.m.

“We’re going to send a chalk message to Boston. A section of the sidewalk will be marked off so people can write a message and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Longhorn Steakhouse,” said Fred Garmon, international director of People for Care and Learning, a Cleveland-based support organization that sponsored the Greenway’s nearby playground. “A picture of the message will be sent to Boston.”

State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland representing the 24th Legislative District, which includes Cleveland, will read a proclamation from the state and city declaring June 19, 2013, as “Run Now Day” on behalf of the state and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland who will be in Nashville.

The two-mile walk will follow the Greenway south toward the Church of God while the three-mile run will go north toward Tinsley Park and The Home Depot. The 12-mile bike ride will follow a course along city streets.

Each participant will receive a Run Now bracelet to commemorate the event. T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

Registration is the day of the event. Waivers are required to participate. Entry fee is $5 or no more than $10 per family with 100 percent of the money going to One Fund Boston. That fund was established through the generosity of businesses, foundations and individual donors. It was created at the request of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

The purpose of the event is to show solidarity with the people of Boston.

“On this two-month anniversary of the capture of the bombers, I am asking Clevelanders to pause at 2:49 p.m., for four minutes in memory of the three innocents who were killed in the explosion at the finish line and for the police officer who was killed in the line of duty,” Rowland said. “Today, everyone should think of themselves as Bostonians for at least those four minutes.”

The Victim Relief Fund of The One Fund Boston will be used to assist those families of the victims who were killed and the victims who were most seriously affected by the tragic events on April 15, 18 and 19.

As of May 30, One Fund had raised more than $37.6 million on behalf of the families of three who died in the bombing and 265 others who suffered injuries, and a fourth victim reportedly killed by the suspects. Because of the generosity of Americans, that amount has climbed to $45.9 million.

The bomb blast indiscriminately killed three people while they waited for runners to cross the finish line. Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass., a restaurant manager; Martin William Richard, 8, Dorchester, Mass.; and Lingzi Lu, 23, China, a graduate student at Boston University, were all spectators at the 117th Boston Marathon.

A fourth death occurred April 18 when Sean Collier, 26, Wilmington, Mass., an MIT police officer, was killed. According to media reports, shots were fired at about 10:20 p.m. on the MIT campus in Cambridge, about two miles north of downtown Boston. Collier was shot multiple times while he was still in his police cruiser.

Garmon, also an avid runner, said in a previous story that the running community throughout the United States felt the bombers had attacked them as well.

“The victims who were injured have all kinds of medical needs, from ... double amputees to various other injuries, and have no way of addressing those needs so the running community, all across the United States started having these Run Now events,” Garmon said.

According to the One Fund Boston website, the nonprofit organization was established through the generosity of businesses, foundations and individual donors.