Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — A couple hundred runners braved the cold morning air and met at the State Capitol Saturday to honor the people who were hurt or killed during the Boston Marathon bombing.
"You know, even though we're so far away from Boston, you have such a great turnout to support everybody that was there," said Carrie LeBlanc, who walked the course because of a recent foot injury.
The bombings were personal to this group. Some knew people who were close to the marathon's finish line when the bombs exploded.
"I had a friend that was actually two blocks away from the bomb," Jerry Williams said. He supported them by wearing a neon green shirt with "I Love Boston" written on it.
But as runners, all of them cared deeply about an attack on their sport, so they closely watched the manhunt for the two suspects.
"I was keeping up, keeping track of it at work during the day," Williams said, "and Friday night I saw it when they was actually capturing him."
"They turned the channel," LeBlanc said of the restaurant she was eating in at the time. "I made them put it back on the news. I was like, 'they're about to catch this guy, and I want to see him do it.'"
A handful of local running clubs got together during the week and quickly put on what they called a Run for Boston. Even Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne showed up for the cause.
Williams said Louisianans owe it to the rest of the country to be supportive during their times of need,
"When Hurricane Katrina happened, we had such a wild support across the nation, so this is one way that we can show our gratitude from Louisiana to the people in Boston that's affected by this tragedy," he stated.
Running has a reputation for being a solitary sport, whether the image is someone on a treadmill wearing headphones, or Forrest Gump alone on the side on an open road. But all the people who crossed the finish line on 4th Street Saturday proved there exists a great camaraderie within the running community.
"I run for fun," LeBlanc said. "I just love being out there, running. I love being out here with the people and running. Makes me happy when I see people cross the finish line, because it's such an accomplishment for everybody."
An accomplishment that was denied to so many runners in Boston five days earlier.
"My heart goes out to all those people," she added, "and if I could do it all over again, I'd be right there with them."
Clint Joffriom shared that sentiment. He ran the 2.62 mile course while holding a large American flag.
"For those who couldn't finish the race, we just wanted to finish it for them," he said afterward. "You know, show our support for Boston, let them know that the country's with them. We're going stride for stride with them."