Stepping beyond numbers
Jul 15, 2013 | 617 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Here’s a number whose message far exceeds its amount: 1,878.

It’s a sum of money. Add 52 cents and you’ll find the total proceeds raised by the recent “Run Now” 5K Fun Run, Walk and Bike Ride held at the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway in support of the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Some might feel the number pales in comparison to the total $62 million that has been raised to date on behalf of One Fund Boston, a campaign created shortly after the April 15 tragedy by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

But we disagree.

It’s not about the number. It’s about the message, and most importantly it’s about the spirit of the message. To expound using our own descriptors, that message goes something to the effect of, “We believe in you, Boston. You are our brothers and our sisters. Your pain is our pain. Your loss is our loss. Your recovery is our pledge.”

In a larger-than-expected turnout in the local “Run Now” event, which launched from the stretch of Greenway between Raider Drive and the People for Care and Learning playground, almost 200 humanitarians brought their running and walking shoes, their bicycles and their collective spirit.

Once the community fundraiser had ended — held on a hot Wednesday afternoon and early evening — almost $1,900 had been collected which is being added to the One Fund Boston coffers. This nationwide, and international, campaign is aiding the families of those who lost their lives during the bombing and its aftermath later in the week, as well as the many who suffered serious injuries. Many required life-changing amputations from the impact of the two explosions that brought terror to the finish line of one of the world’s most respected, and longstanding, marathons.

Many should be credited for the success of “Run Now,” but theirs was not an effort intended to bring exposure to anyone but the victims of Boston and to promote an awareness of their needs. It was also a grassroots approach, originated by a small group of avid runners, to show support for their brethren and to assure the victims they will never be forgotten.

It has been said the running community is a tight-knit group. That’s because of the bond that is shared by those who choose to take a different path in life. They believe in health. They believe in appreciating the gifts of Mother Earth. They believe in each other.

Many are familiar with the phrase, “the loneliness of the long-distance runner.” It is an apt expression used especially for those who train for marathons, half-marathons and distances lost somewhere in the vast in-between. But it also points to a mindset, one that says, “I am who I am. I do what I do. And I take comfort in doing it alone.”

Yet, the bond among runners — regardless of physical spaces — is there. And like in any family, when harm comes to one or more of its members, the rest will step up.

Harm came to the heart of Boston on this Monday in mid-April, and none deserved its savagery. And thousands, in the aftermath of this evil, have stepped up.

Among those responding are many Cleveland and Bradley County residents who walk the walk and talk the talk of the running community. They pounded the Greenway and biked the streets of Cleveland at “Run Now,” and many will be taking their passion for their Boston brothers and sisters to an all new level. They’ll be doing it in April 2014 as anchor members of “Run Now Relay, Cleveland to Boston.”

We’ll have more to say about this coming fundraiser — which, like “Run Now,” will be raising far more than just money — in a later edition.

Until then, let us offer a heartfelt thank you to those who supported the recent Greenway event.

You stepped up.

Although a small step for you, it was a giant stride for Boston and for all who believe in the strength of the human spirit.