Less than a month after the Boston Marathon bombings, Providence held its own marathon Sunday. Neither the terrorist attack nor rain showers deterred runners and their fans.
Nearly 4,000 runners crossed the finish line in downtown Providence on Sunday. A few blocks away was Julie McClearn from Somerville. She was waiting for her sister to pass by.
“She’s never done a race like this before," McClearn said. "You know, she’s done her 5Ks, a couple 10Ks, her first half-marathon, so I’m so proud of her. It’s so exciting.”
McClearn admits that she and her sister had some reservations about coming to Providence.
"I was down the street when the bombing went off at the Boston marathon," she said. "But with so much tight security and they’ve got these guys. After the initial bombing she was like I don’t want to be near crowds, I don’t want to run. But then after a week or two it was like okay, things have calmed down."
Security was heightened in Providence, and officials said they reviewed emergency response plans. Race staff member Susan Rancourt said the event went smoothly.
"There’s a lot more police presence, there’s dogs sniffing," Rancourt said. "One of the things that we did put in place was we put clear bag checks for all the participants. Instead of bringing their own bags we had them empty them into our bags so we could view everything that was in the bags and then we checked them."
The Providence Marathon is one of the fastest growing races in the Northeast. And it’s a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon. That’s why Eric Wyler of Brighton decided at the last minute to run.
"This is my first marathon," Wyler said. "And I was a runner in college and all. And I thought about running Boston and I just kind of decided after the bombings. I think next year’s going to mean a lot to me and a lot of people. If anything it motivated me to run. Just get out there and do it. That’s my philosophy for life."
Wyler ran the marathon in 2 hours, 51 minutes, and came in 12th place.