Bellingham Runners and Walkers Support Boston

Bellingham runners and walkers support Boston

Published on Tuesday, April 23, 2014 by Quinn Welsch

Bellingham runners and walkers showed their support for the city of Boston yesterday by participating in the Runners for Boston fun-run at the Fairhaven Village Green April 21.
Monday marked one week since the Boston Marathon bombing. Joggers and walkers united in participation of the Runners for Boston, a national event. The Independent Running Retailer Association suggested the event to the local jogging clubs and stores, bringing dozens of walkers and runners together.

In the Fairhaven Village Green, event participants wore blue and yellow to memorialize the bombing. Many signed notes of encouragement on large blue and yellow sheets of paper to be sent to Boston.

Bellingham Police Chief Clifford Cook, Whatcom County Sherriff Bill Elfo and Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws gave short speeches before the participants took a moment of silence. The runners were then let loose along the trails for a 20-minute jog, down and back.
Al Coyle helped organize the event and is a member of the Greater Bellingham Running Club. The run brings all members of the community together to help create a sense of understanding and healing to help move on, he said.

“We, as runners, think of ourselves as one big community,” said Dylan Wirkkala, store manager at Fairhaven Runners & Walkers and organizer of the event. “We had more than 15 of our local runners [in Boston]. It’s a little scary to know they were there, possibly in harm’s way.”
Some of the Whatcom County locals who participated in the Boston Marathon came to the Fairhaven run. Among them was Bill Pech, director of Western’s Asia University America Program.

Pech said it has been good to see those he ran with in Boston back in Bellingham and to be in touch with the local running community.

“I think the running community has a connection that goes beyond local,” Pech said. “I think we feel a connection to runners all over this country.”

The event was not meant to promote any particular store, but rather to embrace the Boston community, Wirkkala said.

He encouraged people to donate to One Fund Boston, an organization aimed at helping the people most affected by the Boston bombing.

“Something was taken from them,” Coyle said. “Something was taken from all of us. I heard a quote the other day saying that regardless of the distance you run, we’re all a family of runners and walkers with the same goal.”

Despite the bombing, Coyle said Whatcom County’s running community is only getting stronger.
“I think it makes people want to stand up and show people we’re not afraid,” Wirkkala said. “Runners and marathon runners are some of the strongest mental people you’ll find.”

(Originally published at The Western Front.)

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