Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Why we're running for Boston

By John D. Sutter, CNN
updated 5:47 AM EDT, Thu April 25, 2013
Andrew Bunyard, 28, works at a hospital in Boston. "I refuse to forget what I witnessed and heard," he said. Andrew Bunyard, 28, works at a hospital in Boston. "I refuse to forget what I witnessed and heard," he said.
HIDE CAPTION
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
#RunForBoston
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Runners take to the streets in response to the Boston bombing
  • iReporters have started a Run for Boston project
  • Join the movement by May 1 by uploading a photo of your running shoes
  • CNN will issue new Run for Boston challenges in coming weeks

Editor's note: Sign up for the Run for Boston project by uploading a photo of your sneakers to this CNN iReport page. John D. Sutter is a columnist at CNN Opinion. E-mail him at CTL@CNN.com or follow him on Twitter (@jdsutter), Facebook or Google+.

(CNN) -- Rosa Brooks says "keep calm and shut the bleep up."

The witty Foreign Policy writer is sick of what she calls "self-indulgent vicarious trauma" following the blasts at the marathon finish line in Boston last week, which killed three people, injured more than 100 and set off a manhunt that left an MIT cop dead.

"You don't need to keep changing your Facebook status to let us all know that you're still extremely shocked and sad about the Boston bombing," she wrote last week. "Let's just stipulate that everyone is shocked and sad, except the perpetrators and some other scattered sociopaths."

CNN iReport: Run for Boston

John D. Sutter
John D. Sutter
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Part of me loves her piece. It's a worthy critique of the faux-concern and needless commercialism that can grow out of tragedy. But I think Brooks is selling people short by writing that "there just isn't much most ordinary people should do in immediate response to events such as the Boston bombings."

There's plenty to do, as runners have shown in the week since the bombing. Within hours of the blasts, people all over the world were lacing up their running shoes and going outside to run. It's a simple, selfish act. Some did it to clear their heads. Others to process what had just happened to fellow runners and those cheering them on. I did it because I felt like I just needed to do something. And I feel all the more compelled to keep training because of inspirational stories like those of Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dance instructor who lost her foot in the bombing but vows to dance and run again.

On their own, none of these runs means much. But when people started sharing their stories on Twitter with the hashtag #runforboston, they took on a greater significance. The collective runs started to feel like a form of protest -- a global show of solidarity with victims and a middle finger to violence and its perpetrators. Some runners started raising money for charity or to help with relief efforts. Others, like Becca Obergefell, from Ohio, who started a website for people to log the miles they were running for Boston (more than 4,000 runs have been logged so far), wanted Boston's victims, some of whom were robbed of their legs and possibly their abilities to run, that the world was thinking of them.

Memorial: 'We are Boston strong'

Sutter: Why I'm running for Boston

Perhaps that's childish and naive, but I do think that matters.

That's why CNN iReport is asking runners and would-be runners to sign up to run a race -- maybe a marathon? -- as a show of solidarity with, and support for, the victims of the Boston bombing.

More than 250 people have signed up to run a race. They're from Boston, Ohio, California, Australia and Germany. Some are raising money for charity with an app called Charity Miles. Others are running because of personal connections to Boston, because they felt the bombing was an attack on runners everywhere, or because they were moved by a particular story.

"I refuse to forget what I witness," wrote Andrew Bunyard, 28, who lives near the site of the bombing in Boston. "Let's reclaim our city," wrote Karin Kenney, a 45-year-old from Massachusetts.

"I'd like to show marathon runners and those watching that I'm inspired by so many of them," wrote Jessica Pilkington, a 27-year-old who works in Boston.

"As runners, we are resilient by nature," wrote Megan Biller, 29, from Michigan.

All of them have pledged to run a race as a way to work through the tragedy.

I'd encourage you to join in. I'm going to run a marathon by next April as part of this Run for Boston project. And if you'd like to sign up, you have until May 1 to do so. All you have to do is take a picture of your sneakers and tell us a little bit about why you're running.

Then look for updates. We'll post new instructions and challenges in the weeks ahead. On the one-month anniversary of the bombing, May 15, we're going to ask iReporters to host group runs all over the country and world in honor and remembrance of those who died and were injured in Boston.

Got questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of John D. Sutter.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Errol Louis says forced to choose between narrow political advantage and the public good, the governors showed they are willing to take the easy way out over Ebola.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Eric Liu says with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States. It's our responsibility to set tone and standards, with our laws and norms
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Sally Kohn says the UNC report highlights how some colleges exploit student athletes while offering little in return
updated 3:04 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Terrorists don't represent Islam, but Muslims must step up efforts to counter some of the bigotry within the world of Islam, says Fareed Zakaria
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Scott Yates says extending Daylight Saving Time could save energy, reduce heart attacks and get you more sleep
updated 8:32 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Reza Aslan says the interplay between beliefs and actions is a lot more complicated than critics of Islam portray
updated 7:19 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Julian Zelizer says control of the Senate will be decided by a few close contests
updated 8:12 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The response of some U.S. institutions that should know better to Ebola has been anything but inspiring, writes Idris Ayodeji Bello.
updated 5:01 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Paul Callan says the grand jury is the right process to use to decide if charges should be brought against the police officer
updated 12:19 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Theresa Brown says the Ebola crisis brought nurses into the national conversation on health care. They need to stay there.
updated 6:35 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Patrick Hornbeck says don't buy the hype: The arguments the Vatican used in its interim report would have virtually guaranteed that same-sex couples remained second class citizens
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The Swedes will find sitting on the fence to be increasingly uncomfortable with Putin as next door neighbor, writes Gary Schmitt
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The Ottawa shooting pre-empted Malala's appearances in Canada, but her message to young people needs to be spread, writes Frida Ghitis
updated 9:48 PM EDT, Sat October 25, 2014
Paul Begala says Iowa's U.S. Senate candidate, Joni Ernst, told NRA she has right to use gun to defend herself--even from the government. But shooting at officials is not what the Founders had in mind
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
John Sutter: Why are we so surprised the head of a major international corporation learned another language?
updated 5:54 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Jason Johnson says Ferguson isn't a downtrodden community rising up against the white oppressor, but it is looking for justice
updated 12:21 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Sally Kohn says a video of little girls dressed as princesses using the F-word very loudly to condemn sexism is provocative. But is it exploitative?
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Timothy Stanley says Lewinsky is shamelessly playing the victim in her affair with Bill Clinton, humiliating Hillary Clinton again and aiding her critics
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime, writes John Sutter
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Tidal flooding used to be a relatively rare occurrence along the East Coast. Not anymore, write Melanie Fitzpatrick and Erika Spanger-Siegfried.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Carol Costello says activists, writers, politicians have begun discussing their abortions. But will that new approach make a difference on an old battleground?
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT