Traditionally I use Friday posts to call out people I know for being awesome or doing something cool with their lives. It's a way for me to bring context to the "Follow Friday" (#FF) trend on Twitter, and a neat way to publicly appreciate people I believe deserve wider attention. Last night, a good friend of mine was at the center of something truly special and I'm beaming with pride to tell you about it.
While most of us were glued to the TV or Twitter (in my case) watching dramatic events unfold in Boston, something else was happening in Philadelphia. 2,000 people showed up at City Hall…to run. As Emily Leaman of PhillyMag reported,
"It was probably the most amazing, most uplifting event I have ever participated in. It’s hard to describe the electricity of it all, but I’ll do my best: It was all the excitement of the Broad Street Run mixed with an extra measure of camaraderie, lots of high-fives, shouts of “BOOOSTON! BOOOSTON!,” and more fun with strangers than I have ever had in my life."
The event was organized by Philadelphia Runner Event Director and Outreach Coordinator Ryan Callahan, who happens to be an Evergreen, CO native and good friend/former Radio 1190 colleague of mine.
In an interview with NewsWorks Tonight's Dave Heller, Ryan spoke about how this idea came together:
"A lot of people were coming to us saying, 'What can we do? What should we do?' so we felt a kind of responsibility to galvanize the community a little bit, and the thing we kept coming back to was 'Why don't we do the thing we do best and what everyone enjoys doing? Why don't we go for a run?'"
He goes on to talk about the strength of community there is in a group run, and how runners know that running is a way to work through many of the things that might be troubling them.
These are the kind of stories that too often get washed aside or under-covered in times of tragedy, yet they are the most important to helping us work through the hurt, pain and fear. There's power in unity and community and events like this show it. Kudos to Ryan for organizing it all and to the 2,000 people that showed up on such short notice to show support for their fellow man.