Saturday was an emotional day for hundreds of people who turned out for the annual Salt Lake City Marathon. But the mood was not one of fear or sadness despite last week’s tragic Boston Marathon bombing. Runners and spectators were in high spirits, paying tribute to those affected by Monday’s blast by wearing bracelets that read “Run Now” and race shirts that read “Running for Boston” on the front and “Keep Running” on the back.
Just before sunrise thousands of chilly, rain soaked athletes took their marks to the sound of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” a nod to the city of Boston and the residents who were touched by Monday’s events.
The heightened security was an uncomfortable feeling for some. Heather Cronin is running her third Salt Lake City Marathon.
“I think it was a little startling that there was a bomb sniffing dog on the train this morning," Cronin says. "It’s just a shift in our world I suppose. But I think it’s good.”
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank says a lot of extra precautions were taken to keep the area safe. He says more than 500 officers were stationed throughout the course, a helicopter was deployed and the FBI and Utah National Guard were present.
Mike Epperson says he was grateful for the opportunity to be here a fourth time.
“With all the events and everything I feel more fortunate to be able to run," Epperson says. "And to be able to express myself and be part of something bigger than myself. It’s just a wonderful feeling.”
Carter Livingston is a spokesperson for the Salt Lake City Marathon. He says obviously the Boston tragedy had an impact on the community. But what it did not do is keep marathoners at home out of fear.
“To get to Boston you’ve got to run in this weather," Livingston says. "To train for a Marathon, you’ve got to go through a lot of struggle. And that’s kind of the whole point. You’ve got to keep running.”
Rachel Moody ran the Boston Marathon on Monday. She joined other Boston runners from Utah to finish at 4:09:43, the time when the first bomb went off. Moments after crossing the finish line, Moody says she wanted to show the world she and her fellow runners are not afraid.
“We’re going to remember the good parts and we’re not going to give any more mental energy to all the negativity" Moody says. "It’s done. It’s over with. It’s healing now. It’s healing.
The winner of the Salt Lake City Marathon was 29-year-old Bryant Jensen who clocked in at 2 hours, 30 minutes and 14 seconds.