The Garmin Marathon in Olathe on Saturday will start with a moment of silence to honor the people who were killed or injured at the Boston Marathon this week.
By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON
The Kansas City Star
“Our hearts go out to all of the runners, spectators, volunteers, friends and families who were impacted by the events in Boston,” Ashley Arnold, the Garmin Marathon race director, said in a statement Tuesday.
A few people via the Garmin Marathon’s Facebook page or emails indicated they are running the marathon as a tribute to those who didn’t get to finish in Boston.
“Looking forward to running Oz this weekend with a heavy heart but light feet. Every step will be for those killed, injured, and frankly, for those who didn't get to finish what was likely a race of a lifetime,” a woman posted the Facebook page.
In addition to the marathon, the race includes a half marathon, a 5K and a kids fun run. It starts at 7 a.m. Saturday at Garmin International Inc.’s headquarters in Olathe.
“The tragedy in Boston will be on the minds of everyone involved in the Garmin Marathon this weekend, especially those running, and we will honor their heroism and memory with a moment of silence prior to the start of our event,” Arnold said.
This is the 10th year for the marathon, which is organized by the Olathe Chamber of Commerce.
“Obviously we are very saddened to hear about the events in Boston,” said Carly Baltes, communication director for the Olathe Chamber. “For everyone in our event this weekend our marathon has much greater meaning for everyone — the volunteers, for the participants, to the spectators.”
Public safety is an important part of the race every year, Baltes said. But even more so this year after the bombings in Boston.
“We work very closely with our police, fire and public works departments to make sure this event is safe for the runners and the public,” Baltes said. “We do have an in-depth action plan in place that we spend a great deal of time making sure it’s current and appropriate.”
They hadn’t changed the plan as of Tuesday. She declined to discuss specifics about the safety plan.
Last year, there were about 2,000 runners. This year, organizers expect about 3,000 runners.
“We have seen a little bit of a spike in our race participants,” she said. “That is usual with the week leading up to the event.”
Although some people have checked to make sure that the race is still taking place, Baltes said she hasn’t heard of any runners dropping out because of safety concerns.
“It’s kind of the opposite reaction,” she said. “People even more have a stronger will to run and show everyone that they are not going to let these tragic events affect what they have been preparing to do, for some people, for months and years.”
To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter at @cronkb.