Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half: Running in the shadow of Boston

by: Rick Price Updated:

Yon Yilma (left) was the top finisher in Saturday’s Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. He finished with a time of 02:29:53. Nuta Olaru (right) was the top finisher for the women’s marathon. She finished at 02:52:40.

SEATTLE - A little over two months after the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, more than 20,000 runners and thousands of spectators hit the streets of Seattle Saturday, with a new knowledge of what a soft target a big race can be. 

Security was visibly tightened. Uniformed Seattle police officers were obvious, in cars, on motorcycles, on bicycles, and on foot.

On a quiet block of Republican Street, behind Seattle Center's Memorial Stadium, commanders kept watch in a large black mobile command post.

Spectator David Pitts, there to cheer on a team of World Vision co-workers, told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, "I mean there's police always, but maybe a few more this morning as I parked and walked over here."

Matt Hong, who finished the Boston Marathon this year about an hour before the bombings, and who ran the half-marathon today said, "A marathon is such a soft target, you know you can't guard every mile of the course."

His wife, Carrie, was a spectator in Boston that day. She also ran the half-marathon today. She said, "People have a plan in their mind that they're going to do something bad, they're going to do it, and so we can just as people be aware of that, and look around, and watch for anything that looks unusual."

But every runner we talked with said something similar: that every step, every mile, is a kind of statement in solidarity with Boston.

Faith McMillion, a runner on the World Vision team said the bombing, "Just made us even more determined."

Women's half-marathon winner Nikki Leith told KIRO 7, "We've got each other's backs, and we've got to show up for each other, and those who were injured and those who were just present, you know, they need that support, and the city, too."

Men's half-marathon winner Pat Rizzo said, "When you're messing with people who run 26 miles and exhaust themselves for the pleasure and joy of doing it, you're not going to break our spirit."