Family members of those killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year were seated near the site of the first of the two coordinated explosions at the Boston Marathon Monday, adding more heartbreak to the already tragic day.
None of the relatives are reported to have been injured, but their presence was notable because each mile in this year’s race was dedicated to an individual killed on December 14, 2012. The final leg of the marathon also held a tribute to those killed in Newtown, Connecticut.
Before the race Boston Athletic Association President Joanne Flamino said it was of “special significance” that the marathon is 26.2 miles long and 26 people died in the mass shooting.
There was a 26-second moment of silence for the Sandy Hook victims, and a group of Newtown parents were among the nine community members running in the race.
“In the first twenty miles we’re honoring the twenty Sandy Hook first graders,” Laura Nowaci, a spokeswoman for the Newtown Strong Fund, which fundraises for those affected by the shooting, told WBUR in Boston. “When we crest Heartbreak Hill, and we’re coming back towards Boston, we run the final six for our six fallen educators, including their lives, to protect our children.
“It’s just running, but we want our steps to count,” she added.
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