Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Why we're running for Boston

By John D. Sutter, CNN
April 25, 2013 -- Updated 0947 GMT (1747 HKT)
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
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1938 GMT (0338 HKT)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 04: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walks the sidelines prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on September 4, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Martha Pease says the NFL commissioner shouldn't be judge and jury on player wrongdoing.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
It's time for a much needed public reckoning over U.S. use of torture, argues Donald P. Gregg.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Peter Bergen says UK officials know the identity of the man who killed U.S. journalists and a British aid worker.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1128 GMT (1928 HKT)
Joe Torre and Esta Soler say much has been achieved since a landmark anti-violence law was passed.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2055 GMT (0455 HKT)
David Wheeler wonders: If Scotland votes to secede, can America take its place and rejoin England?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1241 GMT (2041 HKT)
Jane Stoever: Society must grapple with a culture in which 1 in 3 teen girls and women suffer partner violence.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2036 GMT (0436 HKT)
World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking recently said the world as we know it could be obliterated instantaneously. Meg Urry says fear not.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2211 GMT (0611 HKT)
Bill Clinton's speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president in 1992 went through 22 drafts. But he always insisted on including a call to service.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2218 GMT (0618 HKT)
Joe Amon asks: What turns a few cases of disease into thousands?
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
Sally Kohn says bombing ISIS will worsen instability in Iraq and strengthen radical ideology in terrorist groups.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT)
Analysts weigh in on the president's plans for addressing the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
Artist Prune Nourry's project reinterprets the terracotta warriors in an exhibition about gender preference in China.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
The Apple Watch is on its way. Jeff Yang asks: Are we ready to embrace wearables technology at last?
ADVERTISEMENT