MIT police Officer Sean Collier had told friends he was going to tackle a big goal Wednesday: He was going to sign up for Boston’s Run to Remember, a Memorial Day half-marathon through the heart of the city held as a yearly tribute to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
“We’ve gotten several e-mails from people who are his friends and associates who say he was very much looking forward to this run,” race organizer Steve Balfour said. “His comment was something like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to register next Wednesday.’ ”
Now, the race Collier was going to run in others’ memory will be paying tribute to his.
According to authorities, Collier, 27, was slain in a confrontation with the Marathon bombing suspects while on patrol Thursday at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A private funeral was held for him Tuesday in Stoneham.
Balfour said race officials will honor Collier through tributes at the start of the May 26 event, which has seen a record number of registrations since the bombings.
“He is part of what this race is about,” Balfour said. “He is one of our own.”
By Tuesday, 9,913 runners had signed up to run the 13.1-mile course, or an optional 5-mile section, 3,000 more than had signed up before the bombings. Last year’s race, the largest in the event’s eight years, drew about 9,200 runners.
“We’ve been registering over 700 per day for the past three days,” Balfour said, adding that race officials have capped registration at 11,000 because of logistical constraints. “I’m pretty certain the race will probably sell out by midnight.”
The race will also offer Boston a chance to honor all the bombing victims, those who helped them, and the law enforcement officers who hunted down the bombing suspects.
“We are also going to honor the tremendous number of volunteers who helped that day, anyone in a yellow jacket who ran into harm’s way,” Balfour said.
Additional spots for the Run to Remember may be available through the Massachusetts and New Hampshire chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and Boston Children’s Hospital, which are sponsoring racing teams, Balfour said.
Run to Remember organizers are looking for volunteers to work along the course, which begins in the Seaport District and passes through Boston, though not near the Marathon finish line.Peter DeMarco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.