OAKLAND -- When event organizers at See Jane Run began brainstorming the best way to pay tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, they knew almost instantly how best to honor their fellow runners and those who were there to support them: three miles, for three victims. All run in silence.
Over 300 people donning blue and yellow, the official colors of the Boston Marathon, signed up to participate in the three-mile run, one mile for each of the lives lost in the bombings. The course began at the See Jane Run store at 5817 College Ave. and ended in Snow Park near Lake Merritt, where a candlelight vigil was held in honor of the victims.
Rev. Debra Avery of Oakland's First Presbyterian Church directed a moment of silence, and spoke a quiet prayer in honor of the victims and their families.
"I think we're all thrilled to see the people of Oakland show their compassion and concern with our counterparts in the Boston area," said Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb, who arrived at the starting line to show his support. "It's so great that See Jane Run provided our community with a place to have an emotional reaction to the events in Boston. It's great that people are showing their empathy and compassion."
Jeremy Katz, 29, and Annie Michalek, 24, both crossed the bridge from San Francisco to show their support for Boston, Michalek's hometown.
"I felt like it was the least I could do," Michalek said.
Added Katz, "You're so far away. When something like this happens, you want to feel close to home."
Lori Shannon, President and CEO of See Jane Run, said she felt compelled to do something in solidarity with her fellow runners.
"We just thought 'Oh my god, it brings everything into perspective. We need to do something to support these people and what they're going through. We need to come together and show strength," Shannon said.
And come together they did, arriving in droves to show support for the victims and their families. Running quietly among the scores of runners were a special few donning their own badge of honor--fluorescent yellow shirts reading "Boston Marathon 2013."
Christian Fitting, 36, of Berkeley, arrived home from Boston Tuesday night. He ran the marathon in 2 hours and 52 minutes, but was still near the finish line when the bombs went off.
"After I finished I was in the medical tent for electrolyte problems," Fitting said. "Right when I got out was when the bombs went off."
Fitting, who quickly moved as far away from the scene as possible, was separated from his friend in wake of the chaos, and reunited with him after taking a train out of town. It was only when he got back to the Bay Area that the magnitude of what he had seen settled in.
"After I got back here was when reality started to hit," Fitting said. "It was when I got into San Francisco Airport. That's when I broke down."
When friends told Fitting about the memorial run, he immediately signed up to attend.
"It's a healing thing," Fitting said, his eyes brimming with tears. "I think I needed to be here."