PHILLY RUNNING groups plan on showing solidarity with Boston Marathoners by doing what they do best: They'll run.
Ryan Callahan, outreach coordinator for athletic store Philadelphia Runner, said Tuesday that after he brainstormed ways to support the victims along with the local chain's owner and a colleague, they came up with the idea of bringing together the area's disparate running clubs for a citywide run on Thursday.
The Fishtown Beer Runners, the South Philly Striders, the Fairmount Running Company, the Bryn Mawr Running Club, the Philly Runners - in short, everybody - will participate, he said.
The details haven't solidified yet, but the plan is for each club to start at or near their usual points at 7 p.m., Thursday and meet up somewhere in the city.
"Boston is a race every runner knows about," Callahan said. "It's the race runners everywhere always ask about."
The annual 26.2-mile race attracts tens of thousands of competitors, including many local athletes. City clubs' Facebook and Twitter accounts lit up Tuesday with updates about their competing members' safety after twin bombings killed three and injured more than 170 attendees.
A wound to the marathon, many said, is felt by runners everywhere.
"I think in this situation people feel helpless and they wonder what they can do," said David April, co-founder of the Beer Runners. "What they can do is exactly what they've been doing, getting up and running."
Julie Morrison, president of the Bryn Mawr Running Club, said she and more than 200 other members would be on board to seek healing.
"Last night I was watching the news and what did I do? I went for a run, because that's what makes me feel best," she said.
Carolyn Gray, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student and member of the Fairmount club, ran in the Boston race, crossing the fateful finish line 20 minutes before the bombs went off. She showed up to the club's usual practice spot at the Art Museum steps Tuesday evening sporting a blue and yellow windbreaker, the marathon's colors. A short line formed as the runners took a break from their grueling circuit routine to exchange tearful hugs.
Still physically drained, Gray hopes she'll be able to complete the citywide run.
"It's especially important now to show solidarity as a community," she said. "You can't understand the motive of something like this, but if the perpetrator's motive was to stop us from doing something, that's the last thing you want to do."
Far from discouraged, many runners said they were more determined to stick with their clubs and even take on big heats, such as the Broad Street Run on May 5.
"I was sitting on the fence about whether I was going to go to Boston next year," said John Semmel of the Fairmount group. "But now, after all this, I'm going to do everything I can to get there because I don't want them to deter me."
For more information on Thursday's Philadelphia run, visit philadelphiarunner.com.