At least 1,000 people turned out for a silent run the Baptist Health Brickell Run Club held Tuesday evening as a gesture of support for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Jade Miller was one of the runners who turned out in Miami to support the victims.
"It's such a shock, watching the videos, and everyone's so happy, and all of a sudden, their faces just change," Miller said.
Three people were killed in the blasts near the marathon's finish line Monday afternoon. Boston's police commissioner said Tuesday that 176 victims were treated at hospitals, with 17 in critical condition.
Runners gathered at 7 p.m. at the Fortune International Parking Lot at 1300 Brickell Avenue for the 3.5-mile run, which is free and open to the public. It was held with the Miami Sports Commission.
"I think the runners today coming out, they're not coming out for the sport of it. Nobody's coming out to run fast," organizer Frankie Ruiz said. "It's a silent run, so there really isn't any time or anything like that."
Baptist Health provided bottles of water for all the runners, who were encouraged to wear white or past running event shirts. Special Boston Marathon mock bibs were also made for runners to wear.
"I will be thinking about all the people that suffered during this time and, somehow, we will be supporting them," Miguel Ponce said.
Boston native and 12-time Boston Marathoner Ken Bereski said he just crossed the finish line when he heard the back-to-back blasts. On Tuesday he returned home to Miami and found himself among the silent runners, racing towards a way to give back to the victims.
"This is my first start with that, is getting this shirt, 'cause it hit very close to home for me," Bereski said.
He paused, emotional, before continuing.
"It happened – I can't let it hold me back," he said.
The club holds the event every Tuesday and generally gets between 300-400 runners, but are expected as many as 1,000 in light of Monday's tragedy in Boston, Ruiz said.
Ruiz, who is also a co-founder of the Miami Marathon, said he was shocked by the bombings in Boston, which killed three and injured several others.
"I never would have thought it would happen at the finish line of a race like this," Ruiz said Tuesday. "That race means a lot so to see the tragedy take place in that scenario, it's a bit tougher to swallow."
Ruiz said he knew many runners competing Monday through the Miami event, which is an official qualifier or the Boston Marathon.
"For many people, to make it to Boston is a dream come true, it gives a purpose to their running," he said. "I guess you can call it the holy grail of running, one of the most competitive ones."
Runners like Miller sympathized with those who spent months or years training for the marathon, only to have the event tainted by terror.
"You don't focus on anything else, especially at the Boston Marathon or something like that," Miller explained. "You just focus on the race and the day. Yeah, something like that would be the last thing on your mind."
Ruiz said organizers of the Miami Marathon have always had security measures in place for the event, and have had discussions about the type of incident that happened in Boston, but may refine and adjust their security plans in the wake of the tragedy.
No matter what, Ruiz said, the sport will continue to prosper.
"Running itself is just going to be that much stronger," Ruiz said. "A tragedy like this, people are just going to stand up to it.
"This doesn't stop us, we're gonna keep doing what we do."
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