By Christopher Haaser
---- — Over 700 participants gathered at Cashman Park yesterday morning for the Greater Newburyport Boston Strong 2.62 Mile Benefit Fun Run.
A lively atmosphere accompanied the beautiful weather as all types of runners came together as a community to support The One Fund Boston.
Following the tragedy that took place in this year’s Boston Marathon, eight mothers of the Greater Newburyport area bonded through their shared desire to ask the community to help support those who were affected. Going along with the theme of running, the motivated mothers decided to plan a charity race to gather donations and proceeds that could then be sent to The One Fund Boston, an organization that assists victims and their families as well as others who were seriously affected.
The “Original Eight” team of mothers combined forces with The Winner’s Circle Running Club to organize a charity race in only four weeks. To put this kind of effort and activity into perspective, other races of similar nature can take six months to plan. Only through the energy of a few determined people backed by a supportive community could this have been made possible.
At 10 a.m. the 2.62-mile run along the Rail Trail was kicked off by two Cambridge firefighters who were first responders to the scene of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Runners ranging from marathon enthusiasts to parents with strollers began the trip, each wearing the same racing number — No. 1 — pinned to his or her clothing signifying the unity that the event promoted. The run did not record winners, losers or times. Rather, it focused on the celebration of what one community could accomplish in the wake of a terrible occurrence. Runners coming across the finish line found a festival filled with food, prizes and live music.
The success of the Greater Newburyport Boston Strong 2.62 Mile Benefit Fun Run far exceeded expectations. More than 100 businesses and individuals contributed to the event, some donating money and others donating their services making the raffle and post-race party possible. By the end of the day, the event had raised funds reaching into five figures, surpassing anything that the organizers could have hoped for.
What began as a desire of eight strangers to help became a community effort to bring a positive light to a tragic occurrence. Valerie Paquette, Calli Towne and the rest of the “Original Eight” mothers together with Michael McCormick and the Winner’s Circle Running Club made the event possible. Everyone who participated in the race and those that donated to The One Fund Boston made it a success.