Cross-country relay for Boston bombing victims cuts path through Trafford
Scott Farley drove more than 300 miles from his home near Rochester, N.Y., last week for an 11-mile evening jog along busy Route 130.
He'd never been here before, but the half-marathon runner said he was motivated by the mission of escorting a relay baton from Turtle Creek through Pitcairn and Trafford to Harrison City on June 26 — just one of 320 stages of a 3,300-mile, three-week journey from Venice Beach in Los Angeles to Boston.
As one of the 1,600 runners in the One Run For Boston fundraiser for victims of the April 15 bombing of the Boston Marathon, Farley, 50, said he wanted to contribute to a lengthy stage because the relay wasn't going near his home.
“I told Vicki (his wife), if I was going to drive five hours, I wanted to make it worth my while,” said Farley, who grew up in Connecticut and Maine.
By its finish on Sunday, the cross-country relay organized by three Britons raised more than $70,000.
The final four stages followed the path of the marathon two-and-a-half months after the bombing near the finish line killed three people and injured more than 260. The surviving accused bomber was indicted on 30 federal charges last week and faces a potential death sentence, if convicted.
As word of the relay spread through running magazines and social media, the One Run For Boston campaign became a rallying point for people who were affected by the violence and felt compelled to do something, said Danny Bent, one of the relay organizers.
He and a friend, Kate Treleaven, ran occasional stages of the relay and greeted the runners along the way by following their progress in a donated Ford Escape. Their partner, Jamie Hay, handled the updates to their website and social-media accounts.
Because the stages cut through only 14 states, some runners outside of the relay path went to great lengths to participate. One man flew from Hawaii to run in Ohio; another left Maine to grab a stage in Texas.
Other runners let strangers cash in their frequent-flyer miles to pick up a leg of the run.
“I don't think there's any other sport that would come together in such a strong fashion as the running community,” said Bent, a journalist and photographer from Devon County in England.
Farley's two-hour run ended outside the Pizza Hut in Harrison City, where he handed off the specially made, lily-shaped baton — which he nicknamed “Miles” — to Murrysville residents Phil Westlake, Dean Meixner, Cristin Gorajczyk, Marlo Ayres and Kim Pekarcik.
Westlake, who was born in Wakefield, Mass., where police arrested Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, mapped out the seven-mile stage to take some of the lesser-traveled roads in Claridge and Boquet before reaching Ianni's Pizzeria in Delmont.
For Gorajczyk, who qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon at the Pocono Marathon in May, running in the relay gave her a chance to support the bombing victims.
“I don't know what they (the bombers) were trying to prove, but they're not going to stop people from running, especially in a place like Boston.”
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.