"Miles," the plastic, GPS-equipped baton that led the One Run for Boston benefit relay from Venice Beach, Calif. to Boston, is now on permanent display at the Boston Athletic Association Museum.
"Miles," the durable plastic, GPS-equipped baton that led the coast-to-coast One Run for Boston fundraising relay, is now safely nestled at "his" new home at the Boston Athletic Association Museum.
If Miles could talk, he might say he needed this rest after a three-week emotional trek across the country that started June 7 at Venice Beach in the Los Angeles area.
Held in the hands of each of 1,700 runners at various times as they pounded across America, Miles trailed through the desert, alongside the destruction of the Oklahoma City tornado, past the St. Louis Arch, through lightning, heat and driving rain, to the site of the former World Trade Center, up Fifth Avenue to Central Park, through New England and, ultimately, the Boston Marathon finish line early Monday morning.
By the time Miles made the crush toward the blue and yellow painted finish on Boston's Boylston Street, he was being held together with the help of silver duct tape and had lost his GPS a few times. Even after the finish, Miles became a receptacle for beer at an after party and was shared all around among the relay organizers and runners.
"Miles," the baton that led the One Run for Boston benefit relay, is now on permanent display at the Boston Athletic Association museum. With "Miles" is a cup inscribed with the names of Boston Marathon winners.(Photo: Courtesy One Run for Boston organizers)
The organizers of the relay to raise money for those most affected by the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings decided that the museum run by the organization that runs the Boston Marathon would be the most appropriate destination.
Runners in a Facebook group for the relay had also suggested an auction to raise more funds for marathon victims, but the organizers decided against that. Three people died in the blasts and more than 260 were hurt.
"We didn't want it sold for $10,000 and then go and sit in a box in someone's attic," said organizer Danny Bent, 34, of Devon County, England. "The museum is a place of everything Boston Marathon. Anyone can come and have a quiet moment with Miles, whether they want to say a prayer or remember the great times that we all shared."
Bent, an author, teacher and an adventurer, has said the relay has been the best experience of his life.
Organizers and friends Bent, Kate Treleaven, also of Devon County, and James Hay, of Ross-on-Wye, England, decided to organize the relay after being horrified while they watched coverage on TV of the marathon blasts.
The baton designed by Plymouth University product design student Jonathan Parlby now sits alongside a cup inscribed with the names of all Boston Marathon winners.
Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray, who ran a seven-mile relay leg Sunday night that started at Hopkinton, the start of the Boston Marathon, said he has run twice across the United States, solo in 1978 and as part of a 10-person relay in 2004. The One Run relay brought back personal memories and more, he said.
"I am amazed at how they pulled this all off with such limited time and resources," McGillivray said of the organizers. "They deserve an enormous amount of credit. Imagine folks from another country coming over here and doing this all for us - pretty inspiring. Makes me want to run across the country again - well, maybe across my hometown."
Said organizer Kate Treleaven, "I think we were all sort of thinking everything will calm down when this is over and we'll all feel very lost and dejected, but this has been such a whirlwind. We've been carried on this tidal wave of emotion."
"Miles," the One Run for Boston relay baton, reaches the finish line early Monday morning.(Photo: Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY)
Sunday's finish in the wee hours of Monday morning was buoyed by cheers and tears and included John Odom, whose severe injuries at the blasts prevented him from seeing his daughter cross the finish line, and Carlos Arredondo, who appears in an iconic photo that has come to represent the horror of the marathon.
In the image, Arredondo is rescuing Jeff Bauman, a young man who lost both legs in the blasts. Since the tragedy, Arredondo, who has lost two sons, and Bauman have become buddies and are seen regularly around Boston, making public appearances or just socializing.
It also included Lance Sven and Koka Kelley, who told Arredondo they were close by when he helped carry Bauman, legs ruined, off the course. Sven and Kelley were creators of the Run Anyway marathon, an impromptu run in Central Park that took place the Sunday the 2012 ING New York City Marathon was to take place, after it was cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy.
Since the finish of the relay, the One Run organizers have been enjoying the hospitality of Bostonians. They've been put up in an Omni hotel thanks to one of the runners. On Monday, they turned Miles over to the Boston Athletic Association Museum. They've also watched the Boston Red Sox at batting practice and attended a game. People around town who have recognized them have stopped them to thank them.
"We've realized that this wasn't just for the people involved in the run but also the people in Boston who we seem to have touched," said Treleaven, 34. "It's incredible. I'm still like a rabbit in the headlights, probably not fully appreciating the magnitude."
Treleaven and Bent were due to return Thursday to the United Kingdom and Hay returned Wednesday.
Though the Facebook group continues to buzz 24 hours a day, with new friends expressing a need to keep the group going, the organizers say they want to get back home to rural England and digest it all before they come to a conclusion about what happens next.
"We don't want to make any rushed decisions," Treleaven said. "This is something we just decided to do on the spur of the moment without much thought. We need to go back and reflect."
The One Run for Boston organizers aim to raise $100,000 for the One Fund Boston the charity to help those most affected by the marathon blasts. Members of the public may donate for another seven days by visiting the website www.OneRunforBoston.org, organizers said.