‘Running makes sense out of things that are completely senseless’

Memers of the Fishtown Beer Run­ners in­clud­ing Lee Port­er, far left, and Su­z­anne Al­laire, far right, who ran in sup­port of Bo­ston bomb­ing vic­tims last Thursday. MI­KALA JAM­IS­ON / STAR PHOTO

The Fishtown Beer Run­ners were among 30 city run­ning groups that ran in sup­port of the city of Bo­ston last Thursday, after the bomb­ings at the Bo­ston Mara­thon on April 15.

As the sun began to set over 7th and Bain­bridge streets in Cen­ter City last Thursday, it cast a golden glow over the people on the corner, who were busy gath­er­ing, chat­ting, and stretch­ing.

There was a quite ob­vi­ous sense of friend­li­ness and com­munity in the air as run­ners from all over the city, out­fit­ted in brightly colored gear, some with Bo­ston-themed T-shirts and hats, got ready to take off.

Pre­par­ing for a run was noth­ing new to these ath­letes. As they bent in­to calf and quadri­ceps stretches and shook out their bod­ies’ fa­tigue on the side­walk, though, it was clear this run was dif­fer­ent.

It was for Bo­ston.

The Fishtown Beer Run­ners were among the 30 run­ning groups that gathered at vari­ous meet­ing points to be­gin the city­wide run of solid­ar­ity.

Run­ning groups ran to City Hall to gath­er at 7:30 p.m., then ran as a large group down Mar­ket Street to In­de­pend­ence Mall.

Fishtown Beer Run­ners was co-foun­ded in 2007 by Eric Fiedler  and Dav­id April, and gath­ers once a week to run three to five miles. The group con­cludes each run at a pub for a beer or two — “qual­ity beer,” that is, in a re­spons­ible man­ner, April said.

On Thursday, FBR gathered at its usu­al meet­ing place for weekly runs, 2346 E. Susque­hanna Ave., and an­oth­er group took off from 7th and Bain­bridge streets. April said that about 70 to 80 people, in­clud­ing 10 to 15 new run­ners, took off from

Susque­hanna Av­en­ue, and about eight oth­ers left from Bain­bridge Street.

“It’s not solely about run­ning or hav­ing a beer,” April said of the group. “It’s about com­munity.”

Nev­er was that more evid­ent, per­haps, than at Thursday’s run.

“It was amaz­ing, such a mov­ing ex­per­i­ence to see every­body run­ning, then feel­ing this ca­marader­ie and sup­port of all the run­ners,” April said in a phone in­ter­view Fri­day.

“Nor­mally run­ners run for them­selves or for char­it­ies…this was run­ning a race for the run­ning com­munity,” April con­tin­ued.

On Bain­bridge Street, Beer Run­ners shared their thoughts about the day’s run, the Beer Run­ners group and the run­ning com­munity as a whole.

Lee Port­er, of Cen­ter City, who has been a FBR mem­ber for three years, told Star Thursday that the group has be­come like a fam­ily. He’s run with FBR as part of sev­er­al events, in­clud­ing the an­nu­al Fishtown Shad­fest.

Port­er said run­ning is like a sub­sti­tute for ther­apy, and Thursday’s run was marked by a great sense of com­munity.

“Every­one seems to be touched per­son­ally, just as run­ners,” he said.

Su­z­anne Al­laire of East Falls, a FBR mem­ber who ran Thursday with her 9-year-old daugh­ter, is ori­gin­ally from a com­munity just an hour north of Bo­ston.

Al­laire said she re­mem­bers years of hav­ing the day off for Pat­ri­ot’s Day to watch the Bo­ston Mara­thon. She had close friends who were run­ning in the race, but said they are all safe. There were hours, though, Al­laire said, of pan­icky un­cer­tainty.

“I just sat in front of my com­puter with my hands in front of my face for hours, and cried,” she said of watch­ing the tra­gic events in Bo­ston un­fold.

Thursday’s run, Al­laire said, helped ease her mind.

“Run­ning makes sense out of things that are com­pletely sense­less,” she said.

One Fishtown Beer Run­ner, Fitler Square res­id­ent Mary Pelak, fin­ished the Bo­ston Mara­thon this year.

Pelak told WHYY’s News­works on April 15, “I felt so thrilled and cel­eb­rat­ory when I fin­ished [the mara­thon] and then it just doesn’t mat­ter now.”

April said when he spoke with Pelak, she said the Thursday run was a mov­ing ex­per­i­ence that was help­ing her heal.

“I was very happy to know that our group had some part in that ef­fect,” April said.

April said he and oth­er or­gan­izers of the run were pleas­antly sur­prised by how many run­ners par­ti­cip­ated.

“It just shows that run­ners are caring, com­pas­sion­ate, com­munity-minded people that are not go­ing to be de­terred by neg­at­ive events,” he said.

“We like to jaw about com­pet­i­tion of cit­ies [like Bo­ston and Phil­adelphia],” April con­tin­ued, “But when it comes down to it, we are united.”

Vis­it Fishtown Beer Run­ners at fishtown­beer­run­ners.com.

Man­aging Ed­it­or Mi­kala Jam­is­on can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at mjam­is­on@bsmphilly.com.

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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