The Triangle Shows Strength — Thousands Show Up to Support, Donate, and Run for Boston.
Where’s the registration tent? I can’t count how many times I had to answer today, “There’s not a registration tent. This isn’t an official ‘event,’ per say. It’s really just a massive gathering of people who want to show support for Boston.”
Congratulate yourselves, Triangle-ites! Over three thousand businesses, organizers, non-profits, and just plain ol’ supportive citizens and dedicated runners showed up to send love, encouragement, and donations to Boston relief efforts. It didn’t take months of planning. Or professional organizers. Or millions of dollars in funding or taxpayer money.
All it took was a passionate group of people who wanted to make a difference –us. Over 3,000 of us.
Tragedy strikes unannounced, and relief efforts are often seldom given the luxury of prep-time. With less than a week to organize, running clubs and groups around the Triangle threw together a massively successful Boston Memorial Run in the streets of downtown Raleigh. With remarkable reaction time, dozens of local businesses donated time and raffle prizes and showed up to sell T-shirts, hand out water, and allow supporters to create messages of encouragement to be put online for www.TriangleLovesBoston.com.
I was one of the volunteers there today, not running, but helping in my own way. A local non-profit set up a table to do a small project called Triangle Loves Boston, which allowed people–especially kids!–to create posters and cards, snap a photo, and upload it to a tumblr account to share inspiration and kindness with Boston. And even though we were no more affiliated with the Boston Memorial Run than the Red Cross table beside us (they were handing out water) or the tables selling T-shirts to raise money for non-profits to aid recovery, the simple act of being behind a table made us somehow seem more informed or official.
“No, I don’t know any more than you do. We’re just out here helping, just like you.”
The City of Raleigh closed down streets for runners. A larger-than-life flag dangled at half-mast on a crane, hanging over the carless roads. Incredible donations from local businesses cluttered the raffle bags. T-shirts sold out. Socks sold out. Random people organized to hand out water to runners and to cheer at the finish line. Red cross volunteers stopped to make signs for Boston. Group after group of runners with matching team shirts showed up, coming out to run three miles with only a moment’s notice. Most amazingly: Over a dozen runners showed up who have once ran in the Boston Marathon. In fact one of the primary organizers, Kaz Yahyapour, had just returned from crossing the Boston finish line this past Sunday.
Did Kaz rest? Did Kaz lay down, tired from running and weary of humanity? No. He stood up and organized another race.
Seriously, the energy was tremendous today. The crowds were inspiring. Look what we can do when we spring into action and run.