The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 29, 2014

Coast-to-coast relay for Boston to reach Southwest Missouri on Monday

JOPLIN, Mo. — A coast-to-coast relay that has set a $1 million goal to benefit victims of the Boston Marathon bombing is expected to reach Southwest Missouri on Monday.

The One Run for Boston, a nonstop running relay that kicked off March 16, spans 3,300 miles from Los Angeles to Boston and is divided into 336 stages across 14 states.

Joplin runner Shaun Steele will run 25 miles in the competition, including a 10-mile stage from the intersection of U.S. Highway 60 and Wallaby Road east of Granby. He’ll also run in New York City and Boston.

Steele has raised more than $3,100 in donations so far and hopes to hit $4,000.

“I am running because I want to help those injured in the marathon bombing,” he said, referring to the April 15, 2013, attack. “I lived in Massachusetts for a couple of years, and Boston has a place in my heart.”

Three friends from England — Danny Bent, Kate Treleaven and James Hay — founded the relay, which was first organized in June 2013.

“Despite being thousands of miles away, we were just as shocked, upset and angry as anyone,” Treleaven said, adding they were overcome with a desire to help and wanted to act as soon as they could.

Last year’s relay collected $91,000 in donations, “which we thought was a terrific amount,” she said. When the relay ended, the friends thought they would go back to their normal lives. But a community was created around the event, she said, and this year, they decided to come back bigger and better. A goal of $1 million was set, and almost $300,000 has been collected so far.

“We didn’t just want to stop and go home and forget about the people in Boston,” Treleaven said. “We knew all those people would need help for the rest of their lives.”

The Joplin area shows strong support for the relay, she said.

“The crucial, special thing was that Joplin has had its own tragedy with the tornado,” she said. “I think the runners identified with what the people in Boston were going through after the bombing.”

Steele said that after the tornado, there was an outpouring of support from all over the world.

“And I want to pay that forward,” he said.

More than 2,000 runners participated last year. Treleaven said the participants will run in any conditions.

“They recognize it’s nothing compared to what those people who have lost limbs will have to endure for the rest of their lives,” she said. “This is a way for runners to go out there, challenge themselves, push themselves to the limits and feel some connection to the people they’re trying to help.”

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