Before the Wenatchee Marathon started last Saturday, runners and others signed a banner honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. That poster will be sent this week to Boston. "The compassion we felt from participants was really amazing," said Ian Crossland, one of the race organizers.
Runners donned yellow and blue ribbons — the colors of the 2013 Boston Marathon — and a moment of silence was observed for the victims prior to the race. Participation in the race jumped by a couple of hundred runners this year, topping out at more than 1,300. It's become quite a popular event on the Northwest running calendar and a number of people have qualified for the Boston Marathon at this race, Crossland noted. Typically, more than 70 percent of the participants in this race are from out of town so it adds a nice boost to the local economy.
The Boston situation didn't dampen enthusiasm for the race, but it did prompt additional security measures. Crossland praised the efforts of city police, the state Parks Service and Chelan County Public Utility District in collaborating to keep runners safe.
The events in Boston hit home for race co-organizer Lynda Finegold who ran the Boston Marathon a year ago. She said it was an awful feeling to see the carnage after the bombing.
Crossland, who grew up in a running family in Cashmere and who was a long-time participant in the Ridge to River race, said he always sensed the potential of the valley to be a running Mecca. "This event is growing along with the running movement nationwide and along with it the birth of outdoor recreation potential in Wenatchee," Crossland said.
The race is also taking on a more local feel, now that racers are raising money for a number of local causes as well as for a cancer lab. The race organization, Teddriven, honors Finegold's late husband, Ted, a local attorney and race organizer who passed away of cancer in 2010.
Crossland, who is living and teaching with his wife Wendy in Colombia, had perhaps the longest commute to this year's marathon. The Crosslands flew into town last Wednesday and returned to the South American country on Sunday.
It's wonderful to see the growing success of the event and the community spirit that it continues to engender here. As always, the volunteers are the ones that make these events go.