Posted at: 04/16/2013 6:20 PM
Updated at: 04/16/2013 9:57 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
Halfway across the country, the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line Monday was felt close to home. Thanks to Grandma's Marathon and miles of trails, Duluth is home to a large and vibrant running community and it seemed everyone knew someone in Boston.
A dozen local runners ran this year's Boston Marathon. General Manager at Duluth Running Company, Tony Stensland, said he had both friends and family racing.
"I was really concerned for my friends who were out there and their families," said Stensland. "I tried to get in contact with them as soon as possible."
Lauren Schulberg of Duluth also had a friend from high school running the marathon. She is training for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and was shocked by the news Monday.
"The camaraderie is the biggest thing and I think the biggest blow from this would be the blow to the camaraderie in the running community and people coming together," said Schulberg.
Stensland said marathons are usually a time for celebration because the race is the climax after months of hard work, but the scene at the finish line Monday was chaos.
"It's a celebration. So many people have trained so hard for Boston and their families have sacrificed and everybody is out there celebrating...so anything to happen like that is such a tragedy," said Stensland.
Runners across the nation are showing their support for those in Boston. A new Facebook event called "Runners United to Remember" has nearly 60,000 members. It is circulating an image showing Boston that can be printed off as a race bib. The event is a virtual run, meaning runners pin the bib to their shirt and can run anytime, anywhere, and any distance in honor of Boston.
Nothing is planned yet in Duluth but owner of Duluth Running Co., Clint Agar, said once the chaos subsides, they'll plan something to help.
"Whether that's putting on a race to benefit the American Red Cross or just doing something to help out, we'll do something," said Agar.