Hundreds of runners hit the streets Saturday in Calgary's Edworthy Park to show their support for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Despite less than ideal weather, event organizers estimated that roughly 800 people came out to the run, which started at 11 a.m. MT. Runners could choose to run whatever distance they liked or walk.
"It's to be a positive influence within the community," says event organizer Trevor Hofbauer. "I know that we have a lot of people here today from Boston so ... it shows a little bit of support as a running community as well."
Many Calgarians were in Boston on Monday when the bombings took place near the finish line of the world famous marathon.
Three people were killed and hundreds more wounded when twin bombs exploded around the four hour mark of the marathon, a popular finishing time.
Since then, running communities around the world have been organizing to show support for the victims in Boston.
The Calgary Marathon sent out an alert to its members notifying them of the Run for Boston event and told Hoefbaum that nearly 1,000 people had told them they would come.
That's in addition to the hundreds of members on the run's Facebook page.
"Maybe there's a little therapy here," says runner Steven Smith, who was at the Boston Marathon on Monday. "It's less than a week from the event and I still haven't processed everything but when I saw this go up on the website, I thought it was a great idea — something that I could do."
Solidarity, not fundraising
There was no fee to join the run and organizers say that raising money was not the main goal of the event.
"It's more being united as a running community and a solidarity event as well," Hofbauer says.
Several Calgary runners at the event ran in this year's Boston Marathon as well as past years'.
"Feeling the impact that it had on such an event that should really celebrate accomplishments and people working hard for something ... it's just tragic," says Taryn Jansen, a Calgary runner who had just crossed the finish line when the first bomb went off Monday.
'A bomb is a punctuation mark.'—Steven Smith, runner at the Boston Marathon
Smith says that for him, the bomb emphasized the culmination of a gruelling run.
"First of all, you've just finished running 26 miles so there's not only a physical exhaustion but a mental exhaustion, and a bomb is a punctuation mark," he says.
"Other than the initial stunned reaction, I didn't have much emotion at the moment. It took a few seconds to process what was going on and then a few more to think through what my actions were going to be."
Despite the horrors of that day, Smith says he would go back to run the Boston Marathon again.
"If there's any good thoughts to take away from this, my images of everyone running into the line of fire to help other people, it's a positive take away," Smith says.
"To see everyone around here showing support, I think that's a positive takeaway too."