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04/21/2013

Montreal remembers Boston

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Hundreds of Montrealers run up the winding path to the top of the mountain that overlooks the city to remember the Boston bombing victims. (Julian Sher/Toronto Star)

It began as a Twitter feed  #CourirpourBoston  -- Run for Boston -- by a La Presse journalist. By Saturday, there was a Facebook page with 900 followers.

By Sunday morning, about one thousand Montreal runners had gathered at the foot of the mountain that dominates the city to pay tribute to the victims of the Boston bombing -- and the spirit of that city and its racing tradition.

It was one of many memorial runs held across Canada this week in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and elsewhere around the world.

Many of the tens of thosuands who ran in the Vancouver Sun Run on Sunday wore blue and yellow  -- the colours of the Boston marathon.

On the weekend, in Quebec City 2,000 people ran along the Plains of Abraham and other running memorial events were held in Sherbooke, Rimouski and Drummondville.

In Montreal, they came with their Boston marathon jackets, their old running bibs and faded t-shirts from races gone by.

There were dogs on leashes, babies in strollers, children on bikes and runners of all shapes and sizes.

Under a bright sun and blue skies despite the cold temperarture, they ran up the winding path of the mountain, sometimes in silence, sometimes with laughter and cheers, often exchanging memories of past races in Boston.

Many, like Ghislain Lessard, had just returned from Boston and proudly wore their new race jackets.

A 60-year-old veteran of 30 marathons, Lessard had completed the race just 30 minutes before the fatal blast.

It was his seventh time running Boston, and he vowed to return next year -- this time with his wife.

"I'll be there," he said as hundreds of cheering Montreal runners swarmed past him. "To send a message: we can't be stopped."


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Montreal runner Ghislain Lessard ran the Boston marathon seven times -- includling last week's race --  and vows to return next year. (Julian Sher/Toronto Star)

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Julian Sher is a foreign affairs and investigative journalist for the Star and can be reached at jsher@thestar.ca and on Twitter @juliansher

Comments

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Bravo to the runners!

Hope the Americans appreciate the gesture too.

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