MORRIS – The tragic events at the Boston Marathon last year sparked an idea among three friends from England – and that idea has inspired a Morris man.
That idea was One Run For Boston. The fundraiser raised $91,000 for those affected by the bombings, which claimed the lives of three and injured more than 260 others. The run is a continuous, coast-to-coast relay, which included more than 2,000 runners and covered a route from Los Angeles to Boston.
The three friends who created the run are Danny Bent, Kate Treleaven and Jamie Hay. Morris resident John Moss will be among the estimated 2,000-plus runners to be participating in the event, just as he did last year.
One Run For Boston II kicks off Sunday from Santa Monica Pier, Calif., and is slated to conclude April 13 in Boston – just two days before the anniversary of last year’s marathon.
The goal this year is to raise $1 million, with proceeds benefitting One Fund Boston, which aids the bombing victims.
“I saw an article on Yahoo about the run and immediately went to the website and signed up,” Moss said about why he decided to enter last year’s relay. “As a runner, I felt a connection with those affected by the bombing and wanted to do my small part to show solidarity and that nothing would ever keep us down.”
Last year’s relay departed June 7 from Los Angeles and concluded July 1 in Boston.
“We wanted to do something to help those impacted by the blasts,” Bent said in a news release. “We had no idea if the relay would work, let alone take off in the extraordinary way it did.”
Moss will be running in stage 216, which is in the southern part of Illinois from Funkhouser to Teutopolis, a distance of nine and a half miles.
Moss, a mental health and substance abuse therapist at the Grundy County Health Department, noted there will be at least two others running with him at his stage.
“One of them ran last year with me and one is new this year,” said Moss, who also serves as a certified mental health first aid instructor. “We will take turns holding the baton, [nicknamed] ‘Miles.’ I will be in contact with the runners on the stages ahead of me, so we can communicate a start time approximation.
“There is also an online live tracking system. ‘Miles’ has a GPS chip, so you can see where the runners are all throughout the entire run across the country.”
Moss said he was not aware of others from Morris participating, but that could change, as he’s spoken to several people about it. Funds are raised by people sponsoring the runners.
“People can sponsor runners through the website – click the ‘donate’ button – and donors can either search for a runner by name, or have one chosen at random for them if they’d simply like to contribute,” One Run For Boston Spokesman Bill Doncaster said.
Starting the race Sunday will be John Odom of Redondo Beach, Calif., a spectator who was injured in the Boston bombings.
His injuries required him to use a wheelchair, but he learned to walk again after 11 operations and hours of physical therapy.
At the One Run For Boston last year, Odom carried the baton for the final few meters while in a wheelchair.
This year he will start the race and will walk the baton.
This year’s relay will include 336 stages.
A total of 3,338 miles will be covered across 14 states, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Moss, 50, enjoys running as a regular activity, even through the elements of this year’s winter.
“It is my time to think about my day and just relax and run all my cares away,” he said.
Moss sees the One Run For Boston as an excellent idea.
“I thought the idea of an epic cross country relay ... is the perfect way to raise money for the victims,” he said. “It allows runners across the country to feel connected to those who were there. It also shows our resolve to not let anyone stop us from doing what we love to do – run.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Morris resident John Moss, another runner or to run in the relay, can visit www.onerunforboston.org for more information.