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
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the tech sector's diversity numbers are embarrassing and the big players need to do more.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
Ed Bark says in this Emmy year, broadcasters CBS, ABC and PBS can all say they matched or exceeded HBO. These days that's no small feat
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1950 GMT (0350 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1629 GMT (0029 HKT)
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
August 24, 2014 -- Updated 0105 GMT (0905 HKT)
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1450 GMT (2250 HKT)
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
ADVERTISEMENT