By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) — Thousands of runners spent Sunday morning pounding the pavement in Boston as they took part in the 15th annual Run To Remember.

It’s a half-marathon and five-mile run through historic downtown Boston that pays tribute to fallen first responders. Shannon Martin runs it every year.

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“Just to try and give back for those who give so much for us all the time,” Martin said.

A Run To Remember police badge (WBZ-TV)

Cecil Jones founded the race 15 years ago. He’s been a police officer for more than 30 years.

“This race is to remind their friends and family and coworkers that they will never be forgotten. . . and what their sacrifice was to us,” Jones said.

More than 8,500 runners from across the country took part in the event. Participants have the option of running five miles or 13 miles. Every step they take, they are honoring those who put their lives on the line.

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“This is a way for those of us not in law enforcement to show our respect and our thanks to those who do give all,” Martin said.

Crossing the finish line at the Run To Remember (WBZ-TV)

Special tributes were made to Worcester firefighter Christopher Roy and Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna.

“First responders come in all shapes and sizes. So whether you are a nurse, firefighter, police or military we all have the same the goal and that’s to bring everyone home safely,” Jones said.

This is 71-year-old Jim Mossman’s 34th half-marathon.

“I am a Vietnam veteran and I also appreciate everything that the police and firemen do,” Mossman said.

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The run is also a fundraiser for law enforcement officers and for many other nonprofits throughout the city.

Paul Burton