The memorial run took place one week after deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon shook the country.
WASHINGTON – More than 100 people took part in a memorial “Run for Boston” through parts of D.C. Monday night, one week after deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon shook the country.
The length of the run was 4.09 miles, the number seen on the Boston Marathon’s official race clock when the first explosion happened.
Boston native and avid runner Adam Siple organized the event and put the word out on Facebook.
“I’m just a guy who Facebook-paged. Thank you for coming out, and let’s have a wicked-good time, alright?” Siple told the runners as they assembled in the courtyard behind the Renaissance Hotel on 9th Street NW.
The run’s route took participants south to the National Mall, where they were encouraged to stop and take photos of themselves with the U.S. Capitol building’s dome in the background.
Boston-style tunes, including The Standells’ “Dirty Water” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” were cranked through a loudspeaker as participants warmed up.
“I’m excited to be able to support the folks in Boston,” said Pier Parks of D.C.
“You have to keep (the bombings) in the forefront or I think we get … comfortable again,” she added.
“I’m a marathoner and was pretty moved by everything that happened in Boston,” said Mary Heckler, also of D.C.
“I really like the idea of coming together and showing our united personality of runners and supporting those that are suffering right now.”
Michael Padilla of D.C. says for serious runners 4 miles isn’t much, but the D.C. event was symbolic.
“I feel like being here offers support for those who couldn’t finish the race.”
Initially, runners bowed their heads in a moment of silence then they were sent off in groups of 20 or 30.
At the very front of the pack were people who have run the Boston Marathon, including Joe Findaro of Vienna, Va. who participated this year for the sixth year in a row.
Initially, Findaro planned on being a spectator for this year’s race since his son and his son’s girlfriend were running.
“So I would have been waiting at the finish line, most likely,” he said.
But a few weeks ago, Findaro decided to run after all and was able to get a bib.
Findaro says around mile 23 or 24 his son, who was racing behind him, called his mobile phone to tell him there had been some kind of incident at the race.
No one was stopping, so Findaro kept running. He says he was almost to the end when he learned that the race had been stopped because of bomb explosions at the finish line.
“It’s still surreal. A week later, I can’t believe that it happened having done the marathon five times,” he said.
Last week would have been his sixth straight finish, but because of the bombings, he never did. But it didn’t matter.
“All that mattered that day were the victims and their families,” he says.
Findaro wrote an account of his Boston Marathon experience that was posted on the Washingtonian, along with photos from the race.
Runners who took part in Monday night’s event were invited to return afterward for happy hour specials at the Renaissance Hotel’s President’s Sports Bar.
In conjunction with the Run for Boston, the hotel will donate 10 percent of all revenue generated by the bar between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday of this week to the One Fund Boston.