Shoe and athletic gear reflectors shined on a dimly lit track in Palatine Tuesday night as about 30 people ran and walked a mile in solidarity with the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Avid runners from the Hoffman Estates, Inverness and Palatine Athletic Association were joined by a handful of neighbors at 9 p.m. on Ost Field, 200 E. Wood St.
Before the walk and run, organizers spoke about why the group gathered and what the Boston Marathon means to runners around the world.
“I kept striving to try to do Boston, and it literally took me nine times to get a qualifying time,” said HIP founder Leo Tyska. “When you get there, it's truly an amazing experience.”
Tyska recalled how impressive it was to have thousands of families cheering him and the other runners on.
“It hurt me a lot yesterday because (whoever is responsible for the bombings) tainted the sport,” he said. “It's not going to stop me. But it's just, they tainted it.”
Ron Searle, of Hoffman Estates, is still trying to qualify for the prestigious event. He sported a yellow Boston Marathon jacket Tuesday night that a friend from the East Coast gave him a while back.
That friend and his 17-year-old son were two blocks away from the explosions Monday. They walked away unharmed, along with about 17 other people Searle knew who were at the race.
“I'm just like 'Oh My God, that could have been me. That could have been my family.' It's just surreal,” Searle said. “It's supposed to be a celebration ... (whoever did it) destroyed that day.”
Before a moment of silence, Searle said that the group was running Tuesday for health, hope and love. He said it was a time to remember those who are still suffering, along with the people who came to their aid.
“We run today for those who celebrated their dreams yesterday,” he said, as the attendees gathered in a semicircle around him, holding candles. “We run today for the friends and family who came to support those dreams. We run today for those volunteers and staff who supported those dreams. We run today for the wounded who may never run again. We run today for the three who died and will never run again.”
John Noremberg, of Palatine, first proposed the idea to the group, after seeing a post on a Facebook page called “Runners Rock,” that asked running groups across the nation to “say a prayer, light a candle (and) run a mile” at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
“The power of social media, we get things like this moving quickly,” Noremberg said, noting that he was impressed with the turnout, considering people were notified of the time and location for the run and walk just a few hours beforehand.
Noremberg said this is the second time an act of terror has hit close to home, as he lost a friend in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He hopes getting the group together the day after the Boston Marathon bombings would send a message that runners are standing in solidarity.
“It's a group of people who do things alone, but together, and so we're just not interested in letting this affect us,” he said. “One of the best ways to do it is to get out here, show our support and do what we do.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.