A nonstop relay across the country, from Los Angeles to Boston, began on Friday and will come through Blairsville on June 26.
More than 1,000 runners are a part of the relay called One Run for Boston, which honors and will raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.
In three weeks, the relay will travel more than 3,000 miles through 14 states.
Runners from across the country will run day and night to get a baton to Boston. Blairsville resident Errin Miller is one of these runners.
Miller, 39, will begin his leg of the race with team member Mike Van Manen, of York, at 11:35 p.m. June 26. He decided to be a part of the relay, he said, for sentimental reasons.
“I am involved because I have a 9-year-old son and a wife who wait for me at the finish line when I race,” Miller said. “Had I been at (the marathon in) Boston, they would have almost certainly been affected.”
The survivors of the marathon bombings, he said, will be damaged for life.
“If I can help by donating a small amount and participating in something to draw attention, I am happy to do it,” he said.
One Run for Boston has been planned on a very strict schedule, with runners allotted about an hour and a half to run a stage, depending on their allotted stage’s mileage. Miller and Van Manen are expected to be at Dean’s Diner in Blairsville.
From the diner, they will run 10ﾽ miles to Old U.S. Route 22 in Armagh, where they will pass the baton to the next runner. At that point, relay participants will have collectively run just under 2,500 miles.
Some runners, such as Gary Allen, of Cranberry Island, Maine, have picked up more than one stage of the relay in Texas. He’ll run three consecutive legs, 33ﾽ miles through the night.
Allen, who needed help getting from Boston to Texas, asked for help on the One Run for Boston Facebook page. Within 24 hours, a man had offered Allen his frequent flyer miles to transport him the 2,000 miles southwest.
When runners sign up for the race, individually or as a group, they make a contribution to The One Fund Boston. Money raised, according to the website, is being used to help the people most affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
As of Saturday night, almost 2,000 people had raised more than $42,000 for the cause.
In addition, all money raised by Oklahoma participants through sign-up fees were donated to the victim relief fund for those affected by devastating tornadoes that hit the state May.
Those who aren’t running in the event can still make a difference by making a donation on the One Run for Boston website, or by cheering the runners on. ocations are tracked via a GPS built into the baton.
The baton, according to the website, is a design concept based on a lily flower, “a symbol of strength, hope and solidarity for our runners and Boston.”
One Run has partnered with Pongr, a Boston company, to provide a live feed of photos sent to the company via email or smartphone app before and during the event. Pre-relay, runners sent training photos through the feed to gain support and get more runners involved in the event.
“As the photo gallery fills up with hundreds of photos taken across the 14 different states, we’ll get a very real sense not only of the baton’s progress, but of the people responsible for making it happen,” Kate Treleavan, One Run co-founder, said on the website.
The route from L.A. to Boston has been broken down into 300 different segments, each about 10 miles. Runners are required to stick to the plotted route, and stay on public roads and trails that allow pedestrian traffic. In addition, runners for the event are required to be able to run a 10-minute mile, or 6 mph, so the relay remains on schedule throughout the event. They are also expected to call the runner two stages ahead of them to alert them that the baton is heading their way.
One Run is organized by three runners from Devon, England, who wanted to show their support for the victims of the April 15 bombings. They are Treleavan, Danny Bent and Jamie Hay.
“We were planning to do a world relay for a little while when we heard the news of the devastating events in Boston on April 15th,” Hay said. “We all looked at each other and decided we wanted to do something for runners across America to give their support and show solidarity for Boston.”
The race will end June 30 in Boston.
“One Run for Boston shows that in difficult times, people will pull together and support those affected,” Hay said.