INDIANAPOLIS — This year's 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis had a different feel to it, as organizers beefed up security for Saturday's races by adding bag checks, bomb-sniffing dogs and warnings for people to alert the authorities to anything suspicious.
Some of the 35,000 registered racers who took part in the races said they were inspired to run to show support for those injured and killed in the Boston marathon bombings, which led to the increased security in Indianapolis. Festival spokeswoman Megan Bulla says she was unaware of any unusual incidents during the race.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Ryan Ogilvy, 33, a native of Australia who is stationed in Texas, told The Indianapolis Star he signed up for the race after what happened in the Boston to show the American spirit. Others at the finish line said they were determined to be there to show support. Linda Mann, 66, of Franklin, ran the 5K race and was waiting for husband, Rick, to finish the mini-marathon.
"I was determined to do it to prove that we weren't scared," she said.
Mayor Greg Ballard said the race seemed as festive as ever. National Guard, Indianapolis police and patrols from Homeland Security were evident throughout downtown and along the race route.
A moment of silence was held before the race to remember those killed and injured in Boston. Afterward, "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, a staple at Boston Red Sox home games, blared through speakers.
Gary Coons, chief of the Indianapolis Division of Homeland Security, said the public reported things they thought might be suspicious, following the advice of "see something, say something." He said no problems were found.
The race was run by Ethiopian Alene Reta, 31, with a time of 1:03:58, more than a minute ahead of last year's winning time. Kenya's Sarah Kiptoo, who nnow lives in Santa Fe, N.M., was the women's winner in 1:12.26.