(AP) Chicago Marathon participants keep Boston in mind
By CARLA K. JOHNSON
Runners in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon held a city nearly a thousand miles away close to their hearts and were determined to show that, six months after the Boston Marathon bombings, they could pound the streets together without fear.
Tightened security along the route changed the atmosphere perceptibly from past years, but the crisp, cool weather helped many set personal records in the first major marathon in the United States since the Boston bombings.
Runners from more than 120 countries and all 50 states observed a moment of silence for the victims and families before the race kicked off. Three people died and more than 260 were injured in the April 15 bombings.
Clara Santucci, who finished ninth Sunday and was tops among U.S. women, said the boost in security made getting to the starting line more difficult than for an any race she’d run before.
Among the extra precautions in Chicago were Homeland Security vehicles parked on a sidewalk on Michigan Avenue near the lakefront and bomb-sniffing police dogs walking the area. City snow removal trucks were repurposed to block closed roadways.
The finish line, targeted in the Boston bombings, drew special scrutiny as course marshals asked runners to show their race numbers as they neared the 26.2-mile race’s end.
No problems had been reported by Sunday afternoon, Chicago police said. This year’s marathon drew 40,230 runners, race officials said.
The mood was mostly buoyant. Police clapped and wished runners luck. Spectators clanged cowbells and shouted support to friends and strangers.
Memories of Boston raised the resolve of many runners. The bombings brought Chicago dentist Jim Ryan back into the marathon fold. He thought he was done, but started training again after the attack.
The enhanced security made it more difficult for Jo Ann Surman of Chicago to meet her daughter right at the finish line, but they chose another meeting spot _ and didn’t mind. Surman wore a Boston Red Sox shirt.
Spectator Nicole Ioffe of Batavia, Ill., donned a bright green sparkly wig to cheer on her friend, Yvette Fratzke. Despite the wacky costume, she said thoughts of the Boston bombing weren’t far from her mind.