Not even a week had passed since the Boston Marathon bombings, but runners taking part in Sunday’s Pike’s Peek 10K weren’t going to be scared off the course.
“You’re not going to curb the runner’s spirit,” said Sunny Snider of Silver Spring, a first-time participant in the annual race. “You want to celebrate the people who were hurt in Boston.”
More than 2,700 people registered for the race, which runs along Rockville Pike from the Shady Grove Metro Station to White Flint Mall. Registration hadn’t fallen since the April 15 bombing, said Karen Kincer, president of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club.
Usually, more people sign up for the race during Saturdays and Sundays than during weekdays, Kincer said. On the weekend before the Boston Marathon, 95 people registered for Pike’s Peek race, but on the day after the bombing — a Tuesday — 108 people registered, Kincer said.
“Runners are pretty resilient people, and who really wants to let something like this stop them?” Kincer said.
Sunday’s race began with a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston bombings, and runners wore yellow-and-blue ribbons in the victims’ honor. Some, including Snider, wore memorial stickers that read “Runners United to Remember.”
“It felt really good to get out here and run and feel the positive vibe of the running community,” Snider said.
Organizers reviewed plans for the race this week with Rockville and Montgomery County police — which increased the number of officers providing security as a precaution — but made no changes to the course.
One race volunteer said he saw police dogs sniffing cars in the parking lot around the mall, something he’d never seen at a previous race. “This is not supposed to happen,” he said. “I’m really disappointed.”
Chris Myers of Damascus, another first-time participant, said he had no worries about security as he ran. “I knew that I would be safe,” he said. “I knew that county police would have everything under control.”
But Michael Gibbons of Rockville said while waiting for the race to begin, he couldn’t help thinking about what the runners in Boston had been through.
“About 20 seconds before the start, I looked around and I was like, ‘a week ago people were doing the same thing, thinking they were going to have a nice run, a nice time,’” Gibbons said. “It steals a little bit of the purity of just going out and doing community events.”