With additional officers, bomb-sniffing dogs and bomb patrol squads, the Seattle Police Department provided runners with peace of mind during Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon.
In the wake of April’s Boston Marathon bombings, peace of mind hasn’t been easy to come by for marathon enthusiasts.
For Jason Pidgeon, April’s tragedy hit uncomfortably close to home. Decked out in the traditional blue and yellow of the Boston Athletic Association, Pidgeon finished 27th overall Saturday, only a couple of months after completing the Boston Marathon in 3:04.10.
Pidgeon competed in the BMO Vancouver Marathon less than a month after the Boston Marathon, triggering memories from the mid-April tragedy.
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“I was very conscious especially coming into that last straightaway,” Pidgeon said. “I actually came into the center and my eyes weren’t necessarily glued onto the finish line, it was more glued to the sides.”
Pidgeon spawned fewer memories Saturday, due partially to the race’s magnitude, but also to the security advancements.
“I noticed a lot of police officers and stuff around and I like that,” he said. “I think it gives everyone that sense of security, so they can kind of focus on what they came here to do.”
Other than redirect a few lost runners, SPD officers were at a standstill for the better part of Saturday’s run, a smoothly run event on a pristine Seattle morning. And if running alongside Lake Washington while gazing off in the distance at Mt. Rainier didn’t do the trick for competitors, the live bands and cheerleader groups at each mile marker on the course may have.
Pat Rizzo, the half-marathon men’s champion, heard a familiar tune at the course’s first live music station. The sound of Journey stuck with Rizzo as he motored through the roads en route to a first-place finish.
“I wound up having that song in my head pretty much the whole way,” said Rizzo, who crossed the finish line in 1 hour 5 minutes 58 seconds.
Rizzo upset Shawn Forrest, a former All-American at Arkansas who was recently selected to the Australian World Championship team for the men’s marathon.
“He’s a very solid runner … I knew he was going to be very dangerous but when he started looking a little vulnerable, I knew it was going to be a very open race,” Rizzo said.
Forrest finished third, behind Rizzo and Jonathan Lafler, a former WSU distance runner.
In the women’s half-marathon, Nikki Gamble-Leith became the first Edmonds native of the day to top their field. In doing so, the ex-UW soccer player clocked in at 1:25:08, 39 seconds better than Kimberly Cloud. In the men’s full marathon, Yon Yilma, also from Edmond, won his race.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon will return to Seattle in 2014 and is scheduled to take place June 21.
Theo Lawson: email@example.com.