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'We'll Keep Running': Thousands Complete Final Mile Of Boston Marathon

It was cold and rainy today in Boston. Still, thousands of runners laced up their shoes and headed to Kenmore Square.

That's the site of the final mile marker for the Boston Marathon. On April 15, when two bombs exploded near the finish line, thousands of runners could not finish the most illustrious road race in the world.

Today, thousands tried to remedy that with a one-mile run that covered the final stretch of the Boston Marathon. J. Alain Ferry, who organized the One Run, told New England Cable News, it was their chance to "to run that final mile, stolen from us."

That means athletes joined spectators, runners, the injured and those who didn't have the opportunity to finish in a do-over of the final mile of the Boston Marathon.

Kyle Shade, 26, crossed the finish line carrying the Chinese flag. He told us the before the race began, race organizers were asking for a volunteer to run with the flag in honor of Lu Lingzi, one of the three spectators who were killed in the blasts.

"I walked up and volunteered to help show that she is just as part of Boston as anyone else," Shade said.

He said people were moved by today's run. But it wasn't all sadness. He said that as he got closer to Copley Square, the street got louder. Spectators — "probably more spectators than runners" — shouted their support and they banged on their cow bells.

"It was a mixed emotion," Shade said, "some sadness and a lot of relief. I think it brought a lot of closure to a lot of people."

Shade did get to finish the Boston Marathon on April 15. He finished at 3:36:51, a good 30 minutes before the first blast. But he wanted to be there today to support others and find some closure himself.

He said the run also sends a message.

"We'll keep running," he said. "There's nothing they can do to stop Boston."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.