It seemed like a good idea at the time. In fact, it was a very good idea. Three creative and organized event planners from the UK envisioned a fundraising mechanism for victims of the Boston bombing. For more background, here is a link to their story.
So, yes it was actually a fine idea brought to fruition. It was just a few second thoughts about my participation as I tiptoed out the door into the 3:45 a.m. darkness to meet friends a half hour away at a car park. One by one, we arrived, Emily, Stacey, and the dynamic duo, our leader and organizer, Jeremy and Caryn Hand. Before our 4:30 a.m. departure for another hour drive north, Caryn laid out a home-baked cake-style oatmeal on the Jeep hood. With those morsels of nutrition, we were on our way to take our place with One Run For Boston(ORFB). For his part, when Jeremy isn’t arranging details for a ORFB stage, he is running ultras and directing a race to support the Millersburg Ferry.
Our quintet of runners was headed north to Stage 290, Selinsgrove to Stonington PA, 11.8 miles with a 6:40 a.m. start. Arriving at the Stonington Fire Company, where we met up with Lindsay and with Barry. Leaving a vehicle at Stonington, like a bunch of school kids we lumbered into Barry’s van for the drive to the Selinsgrove start. Barry is a local runner and Boston Marathon veteran. At our start, we met Mark, another Boston Marathon veteran, 25 Boston races under his belt as well as a coach (irunicoach) who did some wonderful fine tuning at the local level for publicity and preparation for our stage. His wife, Robin – no stranger to marathons herself, provided welcome support along the route.
As we saw the Stage 289 runners approach in headlamps and reflective gear it was applause and greetings all around. They had been running through the night, since 3:15 a.m on a brisk 30 degree morning. We chatted for a few moments, wished each team of runners well and they were off to their day as we were off to begin our stage. The Sunbury Police gave us an escort through the heavier morning traffic as we entered the street to the Shikellamy High School where cheering students had erected an arch for ORFB runners to pass through as we headed out of town.
Leaving the mostly flat terrain behind us, we were soon progressing through a series of hills. I believe there were four, but at some point you just stop counting. My Boston training held me in good stead, only feeling a serious calf burn on the last, and what seemed like the toughest, hill.
As we approached the finish of Stage 290, a deer peaked out of the woods to greet us. That greeting was followed by cowbells and cheers coming from runners signed up for Stage 291 of ORFB, ready to take on more of Pennsylvania’s hills in the journey east to Boston.
There, our vehicle awaited us. We said good-bye to Stage 291 as they enthusiastically continued down Route 61. We gave our thanks to super support Robin, and good-byes to Mark and Barry, both of whom are headed to Boston in a couple of weeks.
As I push the button to publish this post, the ORFB torch and more than 25 runners in Stage 308 have likely crossed the New Jersey/New York border.
There is still an opportunity to be a part of this crazy-how-could-this-possibly-work event. Go to One Run for Boston and click on the yellow half-moon icon on the left of the page that reads “DONATE.” Nothing can undo the pain and loss, but we can all share in doing what we can to ease the load.