The running community is a pretty tight group; if I had any doubt about that before, the events of the past few days, culminating with the Unity Run Pasadena, erased any doubts I may have had. These photos were taken today at the Unity Run Pasadena, a 5K which was held today at the Rose Bowl; the event included members of at least 16 different running clubs in the area as well as individuals that came from at least as far away as Riverside participating to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon 2013 terrorist attack.

As events unfolded in Boston on April 15, John Beatty, vice president of Pasadena Pacers Running Club in California, was at work and already thinking that he had to do something to get local runners and their supporters out running again as soon as possible. He wanted to put on an event to show some unity in the running world. He decided a 5K (about 3 miles) would be a nice run that people would not have to train for, and he knew that a lap around the Rose Bowl would be just right. The problem is that the Rose Bowl can only have a certain number of “events” per year, so this would have to have less than 1,500 participants and a few other rules to abide by. By Wednesday evening, they had been given the green light and the Unity Run was formed on Facebook.

My daughter has been running with the Pasadena Pacers for a while and she suspected I might want to become involved, so she sent me a link to their Facebook page; I think I was among the first couple of “Likes” so I was able to watch in amazement as this thing grew, and grew and continues to grow. Within hours, an event that was intended to be a local run including a few different running clubs started to expand. Within hours, running clubs in other parts of LA County decided to have their own runs; then runs in other parts of the state were formed. It was not long before the power of Facebook and social media resulted in unity runs being formed in Cleveland, New York City, Seattle, Houston and even Edinburgh in Scotland.

Today’s event began with a moment of silence, a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace, the singing of the Star Spangled Banner (which sounded like these guys have been practicing) and some warmup stretches. Then the run began. That is the thing, it was not a race; there were no timers, no winners, no prizes. It was solely to show unity within the running community and I have to say, they accomplished that.

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