After the events that took place at the Boston Marathon on April 15, a group of Ball State students took it upon themselves to help by showing their support for those affected by the two explosions.
But when Justin Miller and Josh Fern, each of the Ball State Runners Association, started to plan the event, they didn’t know a participant was a student who was born and raised in an area close to Boston.
Grant Proia, a sophomore nursing major, was born in Rutland, Mass., about an hour and a half away from Boston.
“I used to always go there during the weekends. I probably went up there maybe three times a month, so it’s important,” Proia said. “[Be]cause it’s your home state and stuff so it really hits hard.”
Proia has friends at Boston University and Boston College who ran in the marathon. Proia said one of them had finished the race five minutes before the first explosion.
At about 5:06 p.m. Thursday, the Ball State runners stood for a moment of silence before beginning their run.
Miller, the creator of the event and social media chair of the Ball State Runner Association, said he was pleased with the turnout.
“It’s awesome to go out running and just see everybody else running. People, wherever you go to race, even if it’s just a 5K, will always come up to you and give you high fives and wish you good luck,” Miller said. “It’s just a really tight-knit community. Everybody is out to help each other and it’s just awesome to see it at every race.”
Fern echoed Miller’s praises.
“What’s really cool to see is that people can take running and kind of make it this thing that promotes humanity. The things that happened in Boston were so inhumane,” he said. “We just want a chance to show the world, and Ball State even, that we stand behind the people that were victimized.”