One Run for Boston passes through

As participatory journalism, it wasn’t ideal for the Mirror reporter who ran a 9.5-mile leg of the coast-to-coast fundraiser, One Run for Boston, as it moved through the area Thursday.

Blame the reporter’s age, a gimpy knee and his fellow runners’ plan to make up time to help get the event back on schedule to finish as planned on Sunday in Boston.

The leg started where Old Route 22 meets Route 764 in Duncansville, and within 200 yards, official baton-carrier Denise Claycomb and her three fellow runners were well in front, out of touch and soon out of sight.

He arrived at the next hand-off point near Canoe Creek State Park a few minutes too late to meet the British organizers of the national event – Kate Treleaven and Danny Bent – who had committed to carry their GPS-equipped baton on the next leg to Alexandria, because the runner who signed up for it had to back out.

After a ride back to Duncansville, where his car was parked, and a shower, the reporter started a car trek to locate the Brits, going through Alexandria, the next hand-off zone 14 miles northeast at Manor Hill and finally the following zone at Greenwood Furnace State Park, 45 miles from Altoona.

But no Treleaven or Bent.

A phone call from the park phone cleared it up. Treleaven explained that she and Bent had dropped out briefly to do laundry in Alexandria.

One Run for Boston grew from a “small, crazy, little idea five weeks ago,” she said.

And since it began June 7, it had become “something bigger, more significant, more poignant than we could have imagined,” she said.

At the start, there were legs without runners.

But runners stepped in to fill them.

In the California desert, runners found it hard to manage 10 mile legs in 120-degree midday heat.

But they figured out on their own that they could handle it by alternating every two miles.

In New Mexico, one “phenomenal” runner labored uphill for two hours to reach the event’s highest point at 9,300 feet.

In Texas, a runner who’d flown down from Maine ran three successive legs – a total of 30 miles – through a thunderstorm that was frightening even to Treleaven and Bent following in their car.

Between Alexandria and Manor Hill on Thursday, Theron Glenny and his wife, Mizpah, of Tyrone and Lindsey Boonie of Pennsylvania Furnace ran through steady rain.

“I forgot my bar of soap,” Theron said jokingly when he stopped briefly to talk.

Was it miserable for him?

“I love it,” he said.

Better than hot sun, he said.

A couple miles behind them, Boonie’s brother, Ben Irvin of Tyrone, was laboring to catch them, having started from Alexandria late because of class at Penn State Altoona.

“Us running across the nation is not going to change what happened,” he said.

But it’s a worthy cause, he said.

It also was providing him with a reason for a good workout to prepare for a race he plans to run later this summer, he said.

And it was fun trying to catch his sister and the Glennys.

Treleaven and Bent conceived the relay so runners could present a “united front” against the Boston Marathon violence, to “bring a bit of positivity to a negative situation” and raise money for the victims beyond the insignificant amount the pair could have afforded alone.

The website on Thursday listed $69,300 raised so far.

The pair were qualified for it because they’re self-employed and their professional skills are a match – she’s an organizer of events and he’s an organizer of expeditions.

They never expected runners who’d been in Boston during the bombings – such as Claycomb and fellow Duncansville-to-Canoe Creek-leg runner Tina Kuntsbeck – to participate.

But they’ve joined, and it’s been therapeutic for them, helping them to get “over the trauma,” Treleaven said.

When the relay began, the pair went without sleep, but soon settled into a manageable routine, spending two-thirds of each day on duty, visiting every other hand-off point, which allows them to see all the teams.

They’re pleased they had the “courage to put this idea out,” she said.

But the runners have taken ownership of the event, and it’s for them to be proud of, she said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.