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Running for Boston to raise funds to help

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POSTED April 23, 2013 1:52 a.m.

Tracy Crane has organized memorial races, uniting the heavy-hearted in a common cause.

She also completed 100 miles in February to commemorate the 100th month of her daughter’s diagnosis with diabetes, raising money and awareness with each footfall.

When life gets tough and overwhelming, Crane, a certified run coach and burgeoning race coordinator, does what she knows best.

She runs.

Not away from the problem, but directly at it.

“Fortunately I have a way of making a difference,” said the owner of Tracy’s Racing, a Northern California racing company that specializes in affordable runs.

Crane’s launched a new event in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, “Heart and Soles for Boston,” a remote race that is garnering attention around the globe.

“It brought out a lot of emotion on that particular day. Boston is sacred to me,” said Charlene Ragsdale, a “Heart and Soles” participant who lives in Las Vegas resident and owns Fab Racing.

“To see something so innocent taken away, I cannot even put it into words. I just sulked. I felt helpless and wanted to reach out to those that were hurt, but also to those that witnessed it.

“Tracy felt such a connection; she came up with the idea and we all wanted to help out.”

The challenge is small, but the effects are far-reaching.

Participants need only to complete 2.6 miles consecutively or spaced out before June 1 – however or where ever they choose. They can run, walk or crawl to a finish line of their choice, and then post their result to www.tracysracing.com/boston or the group’s Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/13PbFGk).

There is no course.

Registration is $30 and proceeds will be go to the victims of the twin explosions, as well as the doctors, nurses and hospital staff at the forefront of the healing process.

The bombings killed three people and wounded more than 170 more, washing Boylston Street in blood, broken bodies and shattered glass.

Crane will turn the proceeds into care packages, complete with puzzles, crayons, coloring books, DVDs, videos and paint. For the hospital staff guiding the victims back to health –catered lunches and dinners.

She’s also accepting donations for bravery medals for the children affected in the bombings.

Her goal is to comfort the sick and injured, realizing many of them have a long road ahead of them.

“These patients will be in the hospital for months with numerous surgeries. Infection rates are high. Then there is prosthetics and rehabilitation,” said Crane, who is working closely with doctors in Massachusetts and San Diego to coordinate the contents and delivery of each care package.

The first meal will be ordered on Friday, Crane noted, and the first care package will be shipped on Tuesday, April 30.

“We’re just trying to do the best we can with the money we have.”

That number keeps climbing. On Sunday, Crane posted on Facebook that she had 110 registrations – exceeding her fund-raising expectations – with many of those serving as active recruiters.

“I knew we could raise $3,000. ... I give my heart and soul to all my events. This is my passion,” Crane said.

However, she’s quick to deflect any praise back onto a Facebook group that has eclipsed 200 members. To a group that canvasses the globe.

“It’s because of the people. It’s all of them making this a success,” she added. “I keep telling people ‘Don’t thank me – thank the group.’

“We’re doing something super nice for them and I think that’s going to make a big difference. I think they’ll remember that.”

Many runners have already posted their results, illustrating one of the beauties of a remote race.

Remote racing, or virtual racing, is a recent trend that has made the world of road and trail racing more accommodating, said Ragsdale.

Participants can compete in a remote race without worry of travel and lodging, and many of the other obstacles associated with traditional organized races.

“It has its place in raciwng because people may live in a location that they cannot participate in a race,” said Ragsdale, who completed her miles with a 5-kilometer run. “This way they’re able to participate, get the medal and still feel that sense of accomplishment.”

The distance for “Heart and Soles for Boston” also is appealing. Crane has made it so this charity race is enticing to even the non-runner, allowing those that wish to break up the 2.6 miles over the next six weeks to do so.

So far, many have gone above and beyond.

Crane isn’t the least bit surprised.

“I’ve seen a runner give up his shoes to another runner who had really bad blisters – and then run barefoot. That’s the kind of thing runners do,” she said. “They’ll give you the shirt off their back.

“The running community sticks together. We’re a family. We band together. ... It’s so awesome to be around this stuff all the time.”

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