Some local residents are taking a leg in a 3,300-mile, across-the-U.S.A. relay race to raise funds for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Spanning from Los Angeles' Venice Beach to Boston, hundreds of runners from across the country are keeping the One Run For Boston relay going non-stop through 14 different states and four time zones, passing a specially designed baton embedded with a GPS tracking device between them.
Participating locally are Jenna Mutz, Jillian Twiss, and Liz Scheurich, with Mutz running from Wyandotte to between Neosho and Seneca, Twiss taking it nine miles to Neosho High School, and Scheurich running from the high school
to Granby. The run came through the Neosho area early this morning, Mutz said.
"One of my friends, Jillian Twiss, posted a link about it on Facebook," Mutz said. "That was the first time I had heard about it. She will have two ladies who ran the Boston Marathon last year with her. I'm running the Wyandotte to Seneca leg, and I will have one gentleman with me who ran the marathon."
Late Wednesday afternoon, Mutz said she was scheduled to pass off the baton at Neosho High School at about 4:45 a.m. Thursday morning — roughly two hours behind schedule. This is her first time running a long-distance relay.
"I've done half marathons and marathons, but never a relay," the talent search advisor for Crowder College said.
Mutz qualified to run the Boston Marathon earlier this year, and she will take part in the 2014 event.
Runners who competed in the Boston Marathon who are also taking part in the local legs of the event are Ashleigh Beyersdorfer, Nathan Sicher, Marisa Daily, Kathy Wrensch, and Ken Schramm. Beyersdorfer and Schramm live in Joplin, Daily lives in Webb City, and Wrensch and Sicher live in Carl Junction. Also participating is Louis Niewald, president of the Joplin Roadrunners, who began his 12 ½ mile leg from Vinita to Afton early Wednesday evening.
One Run For Boston is the brainchild of three friends from England: Kate Treleaven, Danny Bent and Jamie Hay.
"When the news from Boston reached us on April 15, we were completely stunned," said Bent. "It took a little while to digest what had happened, but we each reacted in exactly the same way — we just knew we had to do something."
This wasn't the group's first major fundraising effort. Other efforts included a 9,000 mile bike ride from London to India and an 8,000 mile non-stop running relay around the British Isles that took eight weeks and involved 2,000 runners. One Run For Boston is estimated to take just over two weeks, with the relay beginning on June 7 and ending on June 30.
"[This] is a chance for runners to come together and show solidarity in a really dynamic way," said Treleaven. "It's a chance to be part of something remarkable, to demonstrate the strength of human spirit and send a powerful message of support to the city of Boston and those lives who were changed on April 15."
Page 2 of 2 - Donations are collected from each runner, with funds going to the One Fund Boston, set up by Mayor Thomas Menino to assist victims and their families most seriously affected by the bombings. However, donations from Oklahoma runners will be donated to the disaster relief fund set up in the wake of the deadly tornadoes that struck Moore, Okla., and the surrounding area.
Like the local legs of the event, most of the stages are in 10 mile or less increments. However, a few 26-mile stages are in the route, with some large city legs as few as five miles.
Those interested can track the progress of the baton by visiting onerunforboston.org.