Campus comes together as MIT Strong ahead of marathon

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April 17, 2014, 10:55 pm
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(NECN: John Moroney) - It's not hard to miss them on the road. In bright red jackets - letting everyone know they're MIT Strong - they're running the Boston Marathon to honor the memory and sacrifice of Officer Sean Collier.

"Last year, at this time, it was about the worst week in my 20 years on the faculty. It was so tragic and so terrible for Boston, for our MIT community to lose a police officer," MIT professor Dava Newman said.

Officer Collier was shot and killed in the line of duty less a week after marathon bombings, allegedly by the suspects as they tried to avoid capture. There's a granite marker on campus near the spot where Collier died. But MIT Strong has become a living memorial to him, a mindset for the entire university.

"I really was inspired by Officer Collier's story and I felt that I really wanted to join the team in order to honor his service," Sloan executive MBA student Charlie Maher said.

"This is very personal for me. I didn't know Sean Collier but I was at the marathon finish line last year," Stephanie Kloos said.

The MIT Strong team includes faculty, staff, alumni undergraduates and one member of the MIT police force. In all, there are 38 runners, including John Cunniffe, who was unable to finish the race last year so he decide he had to this year.

"You have to go back and finish it, you know. Unfinished business. Yeah, no doubt," Cunniffe said.

Chad Galts also decided to run for his own personal reasons. His kids see the marathon in terms of the bombings, which is not something wants for them.

"For me trying to redefine the event for my kids is a really important thing," he said.

It has been a brutal winter to have to train outside for a marathon. But once a week, members of MIT Strong came to a field house on campus to work out and be together.

"Together as a team we're strong. We're going to take this city back, we're going to take this day back and that's what motivates me," Julie Pryor said.

MIT Strong gathered in Ashland, Mass. a couple of weeks before the marathon for one last, long run. They stood for pictures before starting the trek back to campus. They say they're not afraid or intimidated about what this year's Boston Marathon or what the future will bring. They say they are MIT Strong.

"Coming together to train with the MIT team has been great. We share a lot of memories, a lot of hard times. It's a great bonding experience," Jennifer Gagner, a 2007 MIT graduate, said.

They say they're not afraid or intimidated about this year's Boston Marathon or what the future will bring. They are MIT Strong.

All of the money raised by team MIT Strong during this year's race will go to a foundation that was created in the name of Officer Collier.

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Tags: Boston, Cambridge, Boston Marathon, John Moroney, Boston Marathon bombings, Sean Collier, MIT Strong
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