Bostonians are donning whatever Marathon or Boston-related garb they can find this week to show support for the bruised city, and a grass-roots movement is underway to make Friday a “wear Boston” day throughout New England and across the country.
For some, dressing in race jackets, Red Sox hats, or even homemade gear — two Emerson students had sold more than 2,500 “Boston Strong” charity T-shirts by Wednesday evening — seems like a fitting way to come together in the aftermath of Monday’s tragic bombings.
Tarek Hassan, 44, a retailer, proudly wore his brilliant yellow-and-blue Marathon jacket in Harvard Square Wednesday.
“I’m wearing it until the wounds heal,” he said, “or at least, until this is behind us.”
Melissa Bourgoine, a Suffolk University employee and graduate student, created a Facebook page Wednesday encouraging all to make Friday “Boston Spirit Day” by dressing in their favorite local team or college colors and hats. The page gained momentum all day, with some news outlets publicizing the cause.
“I think people are looking for something to smile about, something to look forward to,” she said. “I hope this gives them that.”
Others are not waiting until Friday. The Boston Bruins wore “Boston Strong” decals on their helmets during a home game Wednesday, while runners in Greater Boston took to wearing yellow and blue on impromptu memorial runs.
Similar color-themed runs are being held across the country and beyond.
“It’s happening around the whole world,” said Chris Field, a College Station, Texas, marathoner who has organized at least 2,000 memorial runs from Guam to Georgia through his Facebook page.
Others are calling for the nation to don purple wristbands for those killed on Boylston Street, while a Las Vegas radio station is urging listeners to wear running sneakers to work.
Mark D’Alessandro, general manager of Mistral, an upscale Boston restaurant, said he will consider the idea. “Why not?” he said. “Solidarity is important.”
That was what Corinne Wee, a Harvard University women’s varsity crew member, was thinking as she scrambled Wednesday to get hundreds of T-shirts made that read “Row for Boston.” Her goal is to have all six Boston colleges that are participating in rowing’s “Beanpot” races on April 28 wear the same shirt instead of individual school uniforms.
“I just thought we could all wear them together as a symbol of strength,” she said.
Others had a more direct reason for wearing the word Boston on their chests, backs, or heads.
Runner Kelly Sylvester, 31, was clad in her 2013 Marathon jacket as she walked down Berkeley Street. She wore her race medal, too, saying, “I wanted to wear it to dedicate it to the people who lost their lives.”
Not far away, at a Boylston Street memorial to the victims, fellow runner Wade Hathhorn, of Portland, Ore., was also wrapped in his race jacket.
“There would be times right now when it would be hard to pry it off of me,” he said, his voice cracking.
Rhys Hackford, 25, of Somerville, had planned on joining friends as a volunteer EMT in the Marathon’s medical tent on Monday, but at the last moment “just didn’t.”
She was shopping for Marathon clothing yesterday, in part, out of guilt. “It’s one of those ‘what ifs?’ What if I could have helped?” she asked.
Hackford said she wants to run the race for the first time next year in a 2013 Marathon shirt, but finding such an item was not proving easy.
City Sports stores around Boston had sold out of almost all Boston Athletic Association clothing by mid-day Wednesday, a sharp contrast to past years when one could find such items on the clearance rack by this date.
“You name it, whatever was produced — T-shirts, shoes, jackets, hats — we sold it,” said Porter Square store manager Lynn Graham.
For many, though, that has not mattered. Peter Rinnig, of QRST’s Screenprinting and Embroidery in Somerville, was taking orders for hundreds of homemade T-shirts, donating his profits to charity.
At Emerson, students Nick Reynolds and Chris Dobens said they were overwhelmed by orders for their yellow-and-blue “Boston Strong” shirt.
“We were in our college dorm common room glued to the news all day Monday, and the atmosphere was pretty helpless,” Reynolds said. “Chris turned to me and said, ‘How about T-shirts?’ I’m like, we can run with this.”
Proceeds are going toward One Fund Boston, an official victim’s fund formed by Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
“Obviously, everyone is for this cause,” Reynolds said. “But it’s nice to be able to show it.”Correspondent Johanna Kaiser contributed to this report. Peter DeMarco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.