PORTAGE (WKZO) – Just a day after the tragic events at the Boston Marathon, hundreds from the Kalamazoo community gathered Tuesday at the Celery Flats to celebrate their fellow runners with the Kalamazoo Solidarity Run.
Click here for photos from the Kalamazoo Solidarity Run.
The event began as a simple Facebook post from Brett Beier, an avid marathon runner, and member of EPIC Crew, one of many running groups based in Kalamazoo. Thanks to social media, word spread quickly through Facebook about the event. Many from the group run on Tuesday nights in Portage regularly, and Beier said he simply wanted to “run with my family” on this Tuesday to rise in solidarity for those who were impacted by the Boston Marathon bombings. What Beier wasn’t counting on was the outpour of support from those outside the close-knit running community.
“Kalamazoo is the greatest community,” Beier told the crowd of nearly 300 ahead of the race. “All I wanted tonight was to take a run with 20 or 25 of my friends.” Thanks to social media, Brett and the community truly embodied the spirit of solidarity.
Runners of all skill levels took part in the race, which was originally designed as a half-mile to signify the distance that many runners in the Boston Marathon were unable to finish because of the explosions at the finish line. Other runners chose to symbolize the point of the race when the explosions occurred with 4.09 miles, while Scott VanLoo ran 8 miles to honor the age of one of the victims.
“I have 2 young sons,” VanLoo said, “and that could have been one of them watching me finish a race.”
At finish line, crowds of people stood to cheer runners across. These same runners and supporters are all eager and ready to stand together on May 5th at the 2013 Kalamazoo Marathon
Click here for continuing coverage of the Boston Marathon bomber investigation .