The Boston marathon bombing shock waves were felt across the entire world. It wasn’t just an attack on a public event, but it targeted one of the purest forms of achievement – the finish line of a race. Running, like the Olympic Games, brings people together from all cultures, races, and religions. It is a uniting factor despite all other differences. We may not understand everything about one another, we may not even speak the same language, but we understand running. It is a powerful bond, and it unites us in sweat, tears, blood, and passion. You join a brotherhood of amazing people every time you lace up your shoes.

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Another world away, student runners in Grenada, West Indies felt the pain of the tragedy through the news. We saw images of cups thrown on the ground, a familiar site to those of us who race frequently, right next to blood-stained pavement. The bombings hit home for us, because we could see ourselves right there crossing the finish line. We knew the exhilaration of that moment, how amazing it felt to hear the crowds cheering us home after running 26.2 miles. To have that incredible memory tarnished by war, death, and violence was unthinkable.

So students organized a Run to Remember for Boston, just like thousands of running clubs did back in the United States. Over 180 runners from many cultures and countries came out to support Boston. We brought an American Flag, printed out “Runners United to Remember Boston” bibs, got a security escort to manage traffic, and followed the flag to beautiful Grand Anse Beach where we cheered everyone to the finish line. Even though we were far away from home, we were sending our love to Boston.

We also ran this race on April 19th, which was the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombings – another act of senseless terrorism. The timing seemed appropriate.

ImagePhoto Courtesy of Joshua Yetman

While I was running at a sub 8-minute pace early in the race behind the American flag, I hit a broken piece of sidewalk and fell – hard. It’s one of those falls where you don’t realize you’re even going down until you watching the pavement slide under you inches from your nose. Thankfully, I wasn’t seriously injured. However, several runners stopped and helped me up. I thanked them quickly and started running again, not wanting to even look at my injuries or let my adrenaline wear off. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing this race. I hardly felt my bleeding knees or bruised wrist, but I did feel the support from those people who stopped to help me up.ImagePhoto Courtesy of Kevin Zheng

That’s what this run was really all about. Runners helping those who have fallen rise up again and get back in their race. While we may not have been in Boston on that day to help, this was a day we were reaching across the ocean, ready to pull our heroes back up and get them racing with us again.ImagePhoto Courtesy of Kevin Zheng

From the students at St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies to Boston, with love…

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