Boston Strong Fort Collins

Events at the 117th annual Boston Marathon shook America last Monday. Now, we are kicking back.

Today at 4 p.m., runners in Fort Collins will assemble in support of victims of the tragedy in Boston.

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The three to four mile run is free and open to the public. Donations from runners are accepted, but in no way required.

The event started as part of a social media campaign through PavementRunner.com. The site encouraged cities to organize a run to promote solidarity through more than just donations.

By using the hashtag #BostonStrong(your city), individuals could sign up to be a part of the nationwide — and now global — event to show emotional support for the Boston runners.

The Fort Collins run is no. 53 of 108, at time of press, different runs in cities ranging from Paris to Seattle. The hometown run was organized by CSU health and exercise sciences graduate student Rae Woods.

“One of the reasons I felt so connected to this event is because I lived in Boston just before moving to Colorado. I want to promote activity and I already had this strong connection to Boston,” Woods said.

The Fort Collins run will start in the Matrix parking lot by New Belgium Brewery, which offered the area as a starting point. From there, runners will proceed to the nearby Poudre Trail.

After starting the event, Woods immediately sent out an email to her students asking them to run and volunteer for the event.

Nikki Zaobidny, a sophomore health and exercise sciences student, volunteered in support of the marathoners in Boston and in support of her teacher.

“We appreciate anyone’s support. This event is happening in towns across the country and we want to make ours the (best) possible,” Zaobidny said.

According to Zaobidny, the Facebook event page, which has 85 “likes” at time of press, is the only indicator they have of knowing how many runners will come. However, they hope to have a good turn out.

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“The importance of this event is to come together as a community in Fort Collins to support Boston, and also to show people that we don’t have to be afraid to run,” Woods said. “It’s not centered on raising money or even raising awareness. It’s a nationwide effort to support the runners.”

To RSVP and find more details on the Boston Strong Fort Collins run, visit facebook.com/bostonstrongfortcollins.

“You can’t take down a runner,” Woods said.

Collegian Writer Mariah Wenzel can be reached at letters@collegian.com.