5 Free Ways to Show Your Support for Boston

Our Hearts Are in BostonLet’s face it, this week has been rough.  Really rough.  We’ve all felt the sting of the Boston bombings. Whether we were there or not, we were shocked to our core, and united by our determination to run on.

Usually our Friday 5 is on the sillier side, but we’re still at a loss for words, and just not ready to make light yet.

So instead, let’s talk about how we can show our support.   There are a lot of scams out there and plenty of people trying to make a buck by peddling t-shirts, ribbons and all kinds of stuff, but you don’t need money to show you care.  You just gotta have heart. And we know you Salty Runners have plenty of heart…or haaht, if you happen to speak in a certain Bostonian dialect!

And now, five SIX FREE ways we can pay tribute to Boston:

1.  Wear Your Colors and RUN!  Runners around the world have united to wear their Boston gear.  No Boston gear? Any blue and yellow will do, or in lieu of that, any race gear at all.  It’s simple and can make you feel stronger, especially when people let you know it’s appreciated.  You might not think they’ll notice, but I have been amazed at the quiet comments I have received when I threw on my Boston jacket for a quick dash to a store or out for a run.  During my first run post-Boston, I felt stronger and taller than ever.  Everyone in Boston deserves our support, so let’s give it to them. Whether you are racing, running or walking a mile, wear your support proudly!

2. Join a Group Run!  Running stores around the country are coordinating special runs to pay tribute to the Boston bombings.  Join your friends, meet new friends, and run with passion on Monday!

3.  Give Back to the Running Community.  Look, there are a lot of scams out there from people trying to get your money, and there are a lot of really great, worthwhile and legit and reputable organizations where you can send money too. But if your pockets aren’t deep, there are ways to give without giving dollars and cents!  Pay the Running Love Forward and volunteer, pace or cheer at a race.  Help out your friends, especially if they’re having a tough time with Boston.  Know someone who was there? Do something nice for him or her, or just check in and see if they want to talk or spend some time together.

4.  Hug a runner.  It’s been a rough week for us all.  I guarantee we could all use a hug.  My great friend and all-around running buddy gave me a hug yesterday and it was the best gift I’ve received all week.

5.  Don’t. Give. Up.  A lot of people are expressing feelings of fear at the thought of toeing the line in a race, but changing our behavior and being afraid to be the strong, powerful runners we are is not the answer.  We are stronger than sleep deprivation, weeks of training, painful workouts, hard races, mother nature’s cruel games.  They cannot break our spirits.  They cannot stop us.  Run without fear.  Run on.

6.  Thank your first responders.  Thank your police, fire, and emergency personnel. Do something nice for them (trust me, you bring them baked goods, they won’t turn them away!). Every day they put their lives out there to save others.  (Thanks Jen for this additional suggestion!)

If you would like to share your story or read the stories of others as we posted earlier this week, please also check out our Boston post.

Mindi is a serial marathoner. She is a private practice attorney, wife and mom of two awesome (and super fast) boys, ages 12 and 14. She coaches Girls on the Run and is a big advocate of youth running.

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  1. I could use one of those hugs! Thank you, Mint, for doing this post. I have been dumbstruck most of the week and at a loss for words. These are all great tips for all of us. I wore my Boston shirt, as dingy and ill-fitting as it is anymore and also felt the love. I also made a point to do an extra run with friends this week. I really needed it. We hardly talked about Boston, but it was so cathartic to get out in the woods with friends and laugh like life is normal. I hope everyone is coping well in her own way and that we find a little peace on the run this weekend!

  2. Great list. Can we make it the Friday Six and add:

    Thank your police, fire, and emergency personnel. Do something nice for them (trust me, you bring them baked goods, they won’t turn them away!). Every day they put their lives out there to save others.

  3. These are all great ideas, I’ve had some bad runs this week but even though they’ve been hard I’ve been appreciative that I can get out there and run! My goal is to try to not take that ability for granted as much as I used to

    1. Yes. I think appreciating the good, our abilities, what we have is another free way to support Boston. It’s not as tangible as some other things, but it still counts in my book.

  4. OK Mint and Salty, you know I respect you as people, runners, and writers. I don’t see how these actions show “support for Boston”. Sure, they show support for other runners, they may be good coping mechanisms for dealing with feelings about what happened. You state in the first point that “you felt stronger” for wearing your shirt or jacket, and later how a hug was the best gift you received all week.
    Much of what I have seen in the running community this week is really around supporting other runners (though I could be a bit more cynical and say that I’ve seen some action that seems designed to advertise the fact that we are runners without much thought as to how that really helps others). That’s fine, but let’s not make it out to be more than that. I’m sure there is an instinct to try and help out in some way, and maybe just helping others is the best way to do so. Or maybe we can think a bit more broadly about what individuals and cities need to deal with tragedies, like blood supplies (of course your blood donation probably won’t help directly in Boston, but maybe it will prepare a community for the next time this happens), vowing not to complain when race fees go up due to heightened security, or recognizing that finish lines at major events may become more difficult to get into.
    Of all the ideas, the one that does show support is being willing to show up at Boston the next time. I suspect a lot of people will rally around this for 2014.

    1. Thanks Greg. I don’t think we are trying to to make this sound like we are making a huge difference for the city of Boston. We are trying to discuss small, easy and free ways we can support each other (and yes, ourselves). Maybe I’m not understanding what you are disagreeing with though.

      I do agree with you that we are going to have to deal with upcoming changes with major events. I also agree with you that Boston support will be huge for 2014. As I have stated many times this week, I predict Boston will sell out in record time for 2014.

      1. My point was largely as you stated – that much of this support is really about ourselves. For some reason, it just grates me a bit when people try to make it out as being more than that, and I’m sensitive to the bit of an elitist and perhaps a bit self-infatuated image that running already suffers (witness the reaction to plans to continue the marathon in NYC post-Sandy).

        1. I don’t condone runners being jerks, but if people think runners are generally elitist and self-infatuated that’s their problem. Usually that has more to do with how they feel about their own lives than it does about us. Running is a positive life changing activity for many of us. Why should we pretend it’s not just because it bothers someone?

        2. Greg – I really couldn’t understand what your problem was with this post yesterday, so I read your blog post. I now realize that you are insinuating that by writing something like this, you don’t think we understand the bigger picture. You are so very wrong, Greg. Of course we all know the bombings aren’t about us or about running. We are not thinking that way or trying to make this about us. I am frankly offended you think that.

          The reality is the bombings deeply impacted each of us – as runners, as Americans, as human beings. As people touched by the events, we do want to do something. I don’t agree with you that it is not “support.” Unless you are defining support to be only something aimed only at a specific subset of people (e.g. those actually killed, injured, witnesses to the event or those living in Boston). While those people are certainly important and do need a lot of support, many of us don’t know those people or have ways to directly help them. But we do know many others who are affected by this and hurting. I think every American with a pulse could use some support this week. I have to believe every little bit of positive energy and support does make a difference. Would you prefer we do nothing and ignore it because we weren’t there, weren’t personally injured or can’t be in Boston to do something?! Would it be better for Boston if people didn’t wear the colors and organize positive tribute runs? Is the only “right” way donating blood (as you indicate) or giving money?

          Also, you seem to take issue that some people are talking about it while others (particularly those there) have remained more silent, no doubt indicating you didn’t like our “Boston” post either. Look, everyone has a different experience, processes tragedy differently, talks about it differently and takes action differently. If you were there, it may take more time and maybe you wouldn’t ever want to talk about it because it is too traumatizing. Likewise, if you process things more internally, you may not want to talk about it. But maybe it does help healing if you talk about it (and/or read about it). That is exactly why we did our post as we did because everyone was reeling in a different way. If you want to talk – talk. If you don’t – don’t. But don’t indicate that there is a right or wrong way or that only certain people are entitled to it. And certainly don’t accuse people of being selfish, self-infatuated or attention seeking by expressing their feelings with regard to this horrific event.

          The ideas in this post are very positive, supportive and are meant to be taken in that spirit. I am truly sorry you cannot see that and instead have taken such a jaded and incorrect assessment of our writing.

    2. I realize that yes, there are more direct ways we can all help, but most of them involve money. There are a lot of people peddling all kinds of junk, claiming that proceeds will go to The One Fund or some other charity. If they’re honestly trying to help I guess good on them, but frankly that kind of thing makes me nauseous, and I think it’s great to talk about small ways we can make a positive out of a negative without blind consumerism.

      I agree with you that taking action by showing up next year is a great way to show we care. Thank you for suggesting that, and I hope anyone who can afford to will. Next year. But many of us feel like we need to do something today, no matter how small, to show we care, especially if we can’t afford to give money. Do you honestly think there’s something wrong with that, Greg, or are you just picking a fight over semantics?

      1. I’m not the type to pick a fight. I just feel that most of what is passing as “support for Boston” this week is really just about making runners feel better about themselves. As I mentioned in my post on Boston, runners seem to want to make the tragedy about running, when it could have been any large gathering that suffered such an attack. I just fail to see how wearing a race t-shirt shows support.

  5. Greg, I believe every little act of kindness and support whether to one person or thousands of people makes a difference. In a time of national tragedy, I’m not ready to adopt such a narrow definition of support. Not everyone has the money, time or other resources to go to Boston and tend to the wounded or give lots of money to Boston charities or even head to Boston for the race next year. I believe that running on in spite of what happened is a tiny act of support and a worthy act of support. At the same time, I believe that inserting yourself into the middle of a national tragedy for the sake of getting attention or profiteering or whatever is lame, but none of the things we’re advocating do that, in my opinion.

    1. I would only disagree in that I think some of what I have seen this week seems more about the individual than about respecting the tragedy. You can debate the extent to which this is happening (and I wouldn’t call it “profiteering”, more unintentional attention-seeking). As I mentioned in my post, it seems those least likely to do this are the ones who were there, who experienced first hand that this really wasn’t a tragedy about running.

      1. Yes, I’ve seen that too and I really really don’t like the attention-seeking that comes from this stuff. I had a hard time posting anything, but then told myself it’s all about the intent. Our intent is to help other runners (our readers) cope and find a way to move on from this in a positive way. I don’t think any of us think we solved the world’s problems when we gave each other a hug! But basically, being positive and strong in wake of this darkness helps me and many of us to move on and feel like we’re doing something. I have no delusions that it’s as supportive as direct support to victims. I also don’t this this is a tragedy isolated to the running world, but we are runners here so that’s what we talk about 🙂

      2. I thought you made an interesting point with your blog post. I think you make some valid points here, too. More so, though, I think you get these selfish and attention seeking vibes because this is the age of social media. Back in the olden days, we’d be talking about this with each other in face to face conversation or on the phone. But now, self expression and human interaction blend through social media. As a result, this medium creates a chaos of sorts. Imagine putting all of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers together in a room and then have them sharing (sometimes shouting!) their status updates. I get a headache just thinking about it! Ha, but I think it’s just a sign of the times.