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Posted on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Ann Arbor community organizing unity runs in wake of Boston Marathon tragedy

By Amy Biolchini

After the deadly tragedy that unfolded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon about 3 p.m. Monday, the Ann Arbor running community is responding by planning several unity runs this week.


Team Red, White & Blue is organizing the first event, the "Boston Marathon Attack Response Run,” which will be 6:45 a.m. Wednesday and will leave from the dock at Gallup Park.

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2013 Boston Marathon explosions

The group is a local chapter of the national nonprofit organization, which works to pair veterans with community members through exercise activities. The Ann Arbor extension of Team Red, White & Blue typically meets for a run, walk and stroll each Saturday morning at 9:30 at Gallup Park.

Initiated by the national chapter of the nonprofit, the Ann Arbor event Wednesday is meant to be a show of unity for the country, said Mike Lehnis, Michigan chapter captain.

“…It’s a show of unity, support and strength for the country and for Boston,” Lehnis said. “We run with the American flag anytime we run, and pass it around through the group. People are more than welcome to bring a flag (Wednesday).”

Participants can run, walk or stroll, Lehnis said. The typical route is about three to four miles around the VA Ann Arbor Hospital and back to Gallup Park.

Zack Armstrong, athletic director for the local chapter of Team Red White and Blue, will be on site Wednesday. Contact Armstrong at or Lehnis at for more information.



Flowers are placed by a Boston police barricade near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Tuesday. The bombs that ripped through the crowd at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 170, were fashioned out of pressure cookers and packed with metal shards, nails and ball bearings to inflict maximum carnage, a person briefed on the investigation said Tuesday.

AP Photo/Winslow Townson

A group of master’s students from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy is organizing a 10 a.m. run Saturday.

The “Solidarity Run for Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing” will begin from The Diag, said Jimmy Schneidewind, a first-year master’s student at the school and a member of Fordies in Flight, a running group.

“It’s an attempt to show solidarity for the runners in Boston and for runners everywhere,” Schneidewind said. “The sense of innocence has been lost after an incident like this. "

Schneidewind said he’s in the process of partnering with several local running stores, running clubs and the city of Ann Arbor for the event.

The route will likely be about three miles long and will weave in and out of downtown Ann Arbor and the U-M campus, Schneidewind said.

The details are still being finalized, but it will be a community run, not a race, Schneidewind said.

Wearing Boston paraphernalia is encouraged, Schneidewind said.

“It’s important for communities and runners to come together and fortify community bonds,” Schneidewind said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.