'Running for Boston'
When news of the Boston Marathon bombing hit, it seemed to impact extraordinarily hard for some.
“I went home that night and I was really devastated,” said Bobbi Krejce of Vergas. “I was enraged and sad and angry, and it feels like there’s nothing you can do to help.”
An emotional Krejce took to Facebook, where she quickly saw she wasn’t the only one experiencing this.
“I saw all these posts of prayers and I thought about how so many of these people would never walk or run again,” said Krejce, “and so I thought, what’s a better way to show our support than to run for them.”
Krejce immediately began putting together an impromptu 5-K event she called, “Running for Boston.”
She used social media to get the word out and contacted her two cousins, Austin and Isaac Clem, who are on the Detroit Lakes High School track and cross country teams.
The Clem brothers then began working their sources … talking to their coach and teammates and telling all their friends at school.
“And we were telling everyone we knew to tell everyone they knew,” said Isaac, a junior from Detroit Lakes who also told his girlfriend in Hawley. She then passed it along to all of her teammates on the Hawley girls softball team, many of whom were eager to join in.
The idea that started on a Wednesday came to fruition on Saturday, when 60 people showed up at the City Park in Detroit Lakes around noon — most of them in high school, all of them wanting to make a difference.
“It ended up being about twice as many people as we expected,” said high school senior Austin Clem, who had helped retrieve a donated flag from Ben Franklin to run with.
At 12:30 p.m. the crew, all dressed in red and white, began the symbolic trek along the lake, passing that American flag from person to person as they went.
“It felt patriotic, and it was symbolic, like we were carrying the American spirit with us,” said Austin.
Motorists honked in support of the young group, while friends and family lined parts of the route to show their support as well.
“It was pretty amazing actually, because we’re so far away from where it happened,” said Austin and Isaac’s mother, Tonya, “but when it touches your kids and your community to the point where they feel compelled to do something like this, I think it just gives them such a sense of pride and awakened their feelings that, hey, we’re Americans and whether it happens in Boston or wherever, we’re going to stick together.”
And although a good chunk of the runners that morning were, indeed trained runners making strides for their comrades, others had to dig deep to make it.
“My 11-year-old brother does not run; he’s not an athlete,” said Krejce, “but me and him ran together and he was so proud of himself and he just kept talking about how there are kids who will not be able to run ever again … and he just pushed through it. It warmed my heart.”
What made the event even more impactful to many involved was the fact that it was mostly a youth movement.
“I think it’s important for our generation to be involved and realize the historical significance of some of the things that are happening while we’re young,” said Austin, whose brother, Isaac adds that while the run truly was for those in Boston who were affected by the bombing, it also goes beyond that.
“I do believe that whether it’s noticed or not by people in Boston, it’s going to affect the people who do see us doing it,” he said, “It won’t bring physical relief, but for them to see people caring for them and sharing the love, that’s a good way to do it.”
And while a heart-warming run cannot change the tragedy of that day in Boston, a once angry Krejce has proven that it would take much more than bombs to knock out the good in the human spirit.
“Going out and doing something like this I think just demonstrates that you can try to knock us down, but there are so many people that will refuse to fall,” said Krejce, “and those are the people you want to stand beside.”