26-for-26 raises thousands of dollars for Newtown families

26-for-26 raises thousands of dollars for Newtown families (Image 1)

While residents of Newtown mourn the loss of their loved ones, Middle Tennessee residents are stepping up to help.

Saturday morning, LP Field welcomed more than 1,000 runners who laced up their shoes for the 26-for-26, an event to raise money for families in Connecticut.

It started as one person wanting to make a difference.

“If you run or [you're a] triathlete, 26.2 is a marathon,” Robbie Bruce, the organizer of the run said.

Twenty-six miles for the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School was what Bruce wanted. At the beginning, Bruce hoped for 26 runners, but the powers of social media soon took the event viral.

Runners, walkers and donations came from as far Japan. That's when the event took a life of its own.

“People are coming together as a community,” Bruce said. “You know it's a tragedy, but I'm glad to be able to do something. We just wanted to do something, you know it's hard when you have kids that age.”

It wasn't just parents running, either. Jennifer Gentry's daughter Maya wanted to run.

“It was hard,” Gentry said. “She wanted to come to the race, but I hadn't explained the details of what had happened, so we had to go over a little bit of that.”

Seth Kraft, the same age as several of the victims of the shooting, participated in the run as well, wearing an angel in honor of one of the fallen.

The race is a reminder that the lives taken will never be forgotten, and many miles away, lives are changed forever.

From Newtown to Nashville and back, the race did more than run its course, it turned grief into action.

Tens of thousands of dollars were raised for the victims. Bruce now plans to take the money himself to Connecticut and start a regular fund.

Donations to the cause can still be made by visiting the group's Web site.

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