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Run passing through Blairsville is raising money for marathon bombing victims

| Friday, June 21, 2013, 4:45 p.m.

One Run for Boston, a 3,300-mile running relay that is raising money for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, is expected to head east through Westmoreland and Indiana counties Wednesday and Thursday as it moves nearer to the planned finish of the event June 30 in Boston. The non-stop, cross-country relay began June 7 in Los Angeles.

Errin Miller, 39, of Blairsville will be among those taking part in a 10.5-mile leg of the course stretching along Route 22 from Blairsville to Armagh.

Miller, who began racing on local trails a few years ago, said his wife and 9-year-old son routinely wait for him at the finish line. So, it hit home for him when he learned that an 8-year-old boy was among those who lost their lives in the bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line, and it spurred him to take part in the One Run relay.

“A lot of people who were injured there are probably family members who came to support somebody,” Miller said of the bombing incident. “For me, that kind of hit a nerve. I just thought, if there's something I can do to help some of the folks who have been affected, then this is a good way for me to bring attention to it, and at the same time, you donate to be a part of it.

“People are still affected by this. Even people who have insurance, they're still going to have a lot of things they're going to need help with.”

Participants sign up on to claim a stage of the relay and plan their own routes using Google Maps and the Map My Run mobile application. It costs $50 for individual registration, or groups can sign up to run a group stage for $25 per person. Individuals can also invite others to join in on their stage of the relay.

One Run for Boston will donate a minimum of 75 percent of its registration fees to The One Fund Boston, which assists victims and families affected by the bombings. If someone wishes to donate to the cause but is unable to run the relay, donations can be made via the One Run for Boston website.

Miller will be running his leg with Mike Van Manen of York, Pa. According to Miller, they are planning to start out from Blairsville at 11:35 p.m. Wednesday, but that time could get moved back if previous runners fall behind the schedule.

“It was a little over an hour behind, but I read that a couple people were able to pick up the pace a little bit and get it closer to the time frame,” Miller said.

An advantage of Miller's portion of the relay is that he will be able to run on wide highway shoulders. “So we're not planning on having any kind of people following us, just reflectors on ourselves and headlamps and that's it,” he said.

But the runners will face a steep challenge — running up Penn View Mountain — shortly after leaving Blairsville.

“The trip from Blairsville to Armagh is like all uphill. It's a steep hill,” Miller noted.

But he said the trails he's run on in past races have helped prepare him for the terrain he'll face next week: “They're very steep and very technical.”

As of Thursday morning, One Run for Boston had raised $58,196. Registration is still open for those who want to participate in any of the remaining stages of the race.

Trib Total Media staff writer Nicole Chynoweth contributed to this story.

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