THOUSANDS of athletes have joined victims of the Boston Marathon bombings to run and walk the last mile of the race, reclaiming the triumph of crossing the finish line.
About 3,000 runners and bombing victims gathered in light rain yesterday to run the final mile of the world’s oldest annual marathon. The event, known as OneRun, begun at Kenmore Square and ended at the official finish line.
Explosions near the finish line killed three people and wounded more than 260 on 15 April. At least 14 people lost all or part of a limb.
Kathleen McGonagle, who organised OneRun, said it was held to honour victims and emergency workers and to allow runners to reclaim the final mile.
She said: “For the runner that didn’t get the chance to finish the marathon, this is the chance for them to experience the final mile that was taken away from them.”
Although the event was not a fundraiser, donations from some corporate sponsors covered OneRun’s operating costs, she added.
Any leftover funds will be sent to a charity set up to benefit bombing victims.
OneRun organiser J Alain Ferry, who was prevented from completing his ninth consecutive Boston Marathon, said: “It was very emotional to run down this street and see all the people cheering.
“There were a lot of tears, and I can feel in my throat that there are going to be more.
“This was a scab for everyone that just was not healing.”
The national anthem was sung by the choir from St Ann Parish, where eight-year-old victim Martin Richard’s family worshipped.
Rosy Spraker was only half a mile from the finish line of her seventh Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.
She said: “Now I feel like I’ve earned my medal.
“I wanted to run for the victims, for freedom, to show the world that nothing is going to stop us.”
A police officer was killed three days after the attack as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his younger brother Dzhokhar, 19, embarked on a car chase with officers during which they hurled bombs and grenades and traded gunfire.
Tamerlan died after a shootout, while Dzhokhar was later captured and charged over the bombing.
Dzhokhar, a Chechen immigrant who became a naturalised US citizen last year, was charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device.