MOUNT VERNON, Va. – The first major race in the D.C. area since the Boston marathon bombings went on without a hitch Sunday morning, with thousands of runners honoring the victims of two unthinkable crimes before the George Washington Parkway Classic got underway.
Race organizers held a moment of silence for Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy, who was shot in the head during a routine traffic stop in February.
“He is still healing,” she wrote. “We are still healing.”
The last mile of the both the 10 mile and 5K was dedicated to Laboy.
Mary Thompson said they are keeping Laboy in their thoughts and prayers.
“I think it just drives it home that life can change in a moment and just don’t take anything for granted,” said Thompson.
Many people said they also used the moment of silence to reflect on the Boston bombing victims.
“I want to honor the victims of Boston and Officer Peter Laboy,” said Woodbridge, Va. resident Jerry Warden, who carried an American flag for the entire race. “I’m going to run to honor the country, respect the colors, respect the military, respect those who served, and those who unfortunately faced the tragedy in Boston.”
Lisa Marcucci and Cynthia Valerio are members of Springfield’s Metro Run & Walk group. Their friend ran the Boston marathon last week.
“We were blessed to get her and her family back, but our hearts go out to the rest,” said Marcucci. “It’s not going to dent anyone’s enthusiasm. We’re going to show up for every race and rally. We’re not going to let this chase us away from our sport.”
“I think it definitely brought the running community together,” said Valerio. “It makes you want to be a better runner and continue doing what you’re doing.”
There was heightened security before, during, and after the race. Police and K-9 units were posted along the 10-mile route.
Jordan Liedholm, a George Washington University student, considered dropping out of the race after hearing about the Boston marathon bombings, but eventually changed her mind.
She added that the additional police protection was comforting.
Alexandria police and U.S. Park Police told WTOP the race went smoothly and there were no security issues.