I'm very comfortable with the level of security we have and I look forward to a fun event. —Chief Chris Burbank
SALT LAKE CITY — Following a moment of silence, runners held their fists in the air at 7 a.m. brandishing their wristbands that read "Run Now," as Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" played in remembrance of those who were killed or injured during the Boston Marathon on Monday, at the beginning of the 10th annual Salt Lake Marathon.
Runners in blue and yellow Boston Marathon apparel and Celtics green were spread throughout the crowd of more than 6,000 marathon, half marathon, 5K and kids run participants. Altra running provided runners with yellow and blue race shirts that read "Run for Boston" and "Keep running" on the back.
Just minutes before, with rain sprinkling and temperatures in the low 40s, athletes expected to number about 7,000 huddled together. Some were hopping from foot to foot, delaying the inevitable of surrendering their jackets to their bags to be carted away in the nation's first marathon since the explosions in Boston on Monday. The London marathon in England is also scheduled this weekend.
A white truck with the words "BOMB SQUAD" sat just beyond the runners as a visible sign of this year's increased security measures. More than 500 officers were stationed throughout the course. Chief Chris Burbank said he was confident the race would proceed smoothly.
"I'm very comfortable with the level of security we have and I look forward to a fun event," Burbank said, as he surveyed the start area Saturday morning.
The FBI has brought in the help of the Joint Terrorist Task Force, said Mike Hensle, supervisor for the Utah division of the FBI. Despite increased security, authorities do not expect any threat to participants.
The course winds down from east of the University of Utah, down to 6200 South and up again, ending around 900 South and 300 East. The 9th annual bike tour follows the same route and kicked off the day's events as 753 cyclists and 75 course marshalls began a 25 mile ride through the city.
Entries to the race were being processed as late at 8 p.m. last night.
Check back later today for more race coverage.