Runners will gather at all six suburban Dick Pond locations for a "fun run" Monday evening in solidarity with people across the nation honoring victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
The Dick Pond runs will coincide with scheduled events at Runner's Edge stores in Libertyville, Andersonville and Wilmette, at the Naperville Running Co., and at Fleet Feet stores in Chicago's Old Town and Lincoln Square neighborhoods, among others.
The runs start at 6:30 p.m. at each location and feature short, noncompetitive routes as well as T-shirt sales where 100 percent of proceeds go to One Fund Boston to help victims of the bombing.
The shirts, designed by Naperville Running Co., are $20 each.
Glen Kamps, manager of the Dick Pond store in St. Charles, said the event will be a way to raise money for those who need it and pull together as a running community.
"The only way we think we can fight back and overpower bad, evil, is with a lot of energy for good," Kamps said. "It's our only defense because this stuff can come from anywhere at any time."
The run from the St. Charles store is 2.62 miles long, and people are welcome to participate at any pace. Course leaders will help guide people along the route, and refreshments will be served at the end.
The run will be informal and free with an identical setup at Dick Pond stores in Carol Stream, Schaumburg, Lisle, Park Ridge and Carpentersville.
Runners are being asked to wear apparel from former Boston marathons, blue and yellow Boston Marathon colors or any race shirts. And even people with little running experience are welcome to walk the course.
The nationwide organization for similar runs is being coordinated through the Independent Running Retailers Association. Its Facebook page also lists planned events in New York, Oregon, Florida, California, Virginia, Washington, Arizona and Montana.
Many of the races are longer than the Dick Pond course, but all across the country, the message of unity and solidarity is the same.
For details, find the Independent Running Retailers Association on Facebook or visit websites for the various running stores involved.