A quilt, handmade by young runners of the Run4Fun Youth Running Club of Brooklyn, New York will be on display at the Apple Blossom, 33rd Running Valley Health 10-K Race, on Saturday, May 3rd at the Handley Bowl. The runners are students of Run4Fun, an organization that encourages students to enjoy exercise. After last year’s bombings at the Boston Marathon they were inspired by their Coach, Nicole Nerangis to make a quilt filled with words of inspiration and motivation. The quilt has been on display at other marathons and has been featured on New York City television. Coach Nicole, founder of Run4Fun is also an avid marathon runner, as well as her 12 year old son, Panagiotis, who is in 6th grade. Seven of the Run4Fun club members will be competing in this year Valley Health 10-K Run. Coach Nicole has been selected to sing the “National Anthem” prior to the race before also running the 10-K. Nicole is a graduate of Shenandoah University, has been a Princess in the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival and is the daughter of Don Nerangis of Stephens City.
Last spring on April 15th, in Boston, four marathon runners from Winchester, Dr. Jerry Brown, Sharon Farinholt, Alina Dawson and Tracey Black competed in the Boston Marathon when two pressure cooker bombs exploded. The explosion killed three people and injured an estimated 264 others. The bombing took place near the finish line on Boylston Street where some of the Winchester local runners had just completed the marathon. The picture and article telling of the local runners experiences in Boston were published in The Winchester Star by reporter Val Van Meter soon afterwards. The picture was placed on the first small banner to be placed on the quilt.
The idea for the quilt came from Nicole’s aunt, Kathy Nerangis of Winchester. Similar small banners are used for inspiration at the Winchester Medical Center Foundation’s Pink Ribbon Luncheon. The material was purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts in Winchester. The quilt was a way for the young runners and their coach to express themselves and to offer hope to their fellow marathon runners in Boston.
Gary Morgan, Olympian race walker was pivotal in arranging for a quilter in Detroit to make the quilt. Mr. Morgan placed first in the Seoul, South Korea Summer Olympics. He has competed in over 60 marathons around the world. He came to New York last year and ran with the runners of Run4Fun , then traveled to compete in the Boston Marathon. He was stopped at the 25th mile as the bomb went off. Gary Morgan was responsible for having the quilt displayed at the Chicago Marathon Expo and the New York City Marathon Expos, 2013. Both he and Coach Nicole ran the New York City Marathons.
One of the Boston Marathon participants from last year, Sharon Farinholt, owner of Crown Trophy suggested that a documentary be made of what inspires people to run. A documentary is being planned by a young award winning film maker, Stephen French of Central High School in Woodstock, Virginia. Filming will begin this week with the arrival of the Run4Fun Team and the Inspirational Quilt honoring Boston Strong!