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Central High senior Taneka Jacob adjusts the hair of Genevieve Santiago, a junior. (MARK HAYWARD /UNION LEADER)

Running for One Fund Boston

MANCHESTER — The Boston Marathon bombing was on the hearts and minds of Manchester High School Central students Thursday. Hearts pumped faster and took a break from the classroom when students raced through the North End to raise money for the victims of the bombing violence.

More than 250 students and faculty took part in Central Runs Road Race, a 2-mile jaunt held to raise money for One Fund Boston. Participating runners donated a minimum of $20.

"It's touched our lives big time," said biology teacher Rich Terrel, who donned a "Central Runs for Boston" T-shirt and joined a pack of runners years younger than he. "This is what humanity's all about — compassion, empathy, sometimes sympathy. And they love the T-shirts."

The event was put on by the Central Key Club and the Central Student Council. Students and faculty contributed money so people could run who could not afford to.

The event brimmed with end-of-the-year school spirit.

Mayor Ted Gatsas, a Central alum, fired the starting pistol. The Central band played at the starting and finish lines. Students cheered the runners as they plied the final block to the finish line.

The race was timed for an end-of-the-day pep rally, so classtime had already been shortened, said Shelli Cook, adviser to the Key Club. The route took students north on Maple Street, west on Blodgett Street then south on Ash Street back to Central.

The event involved more than just Central students. Manchester Police and Athletic Alliance Running Club provided traffic control. Puritan restaurant provided post-race ice-cream for runners.

Some runners were former Central students, such as Lauren Ashby, 22, who ran the Boston Marathon last year with former track coach Kelly Fox.

"It was eye-opening, very scarey to think I could have been there," Ashby said. Had she been there, her family and friends would have been standing close to the finish line, she said.

The bombings have brought a lot of attention to running, Ashby said.

"It's bringing the entire community together," she said, "my friends are saying they want to run the marathon now."

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