Thursday night's Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run was held in downtown Miami, but it had two major connections to Boston. Runners Miguel Vargas, Maria Linares and Jorge Naranjo gave their thoughts on the event.
Thursday night's Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run was held in downtown Miami, but it had two major connections to Boston.
More than 25,000 runners faced increased security in light of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and a moment of silence was held before the start to remember the victims.
"It was nice thinking about those people that perished in Boston," participant Miguel Vargas said, adding that he wished the moment of silence could have lasted a bit longer.
Ronnie Holassie was the men’s winner of the 5K in 15:26, and Guadalupe Merlos finished first among women with a time of 19:36.
Before the event began, security teams had been patrolling Bayfront Park around the clock since Wednesday morning, according to one guard. Miami Police said they took measures to protect the runners thronging downtown for the event, including not allowing gym bags, backpacks and large bags. Officer Kenia Reyes said the department would have a bomb squad "on standby."
"Security is extremely important to all of us," said Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo. "I feel comfortable that all security measures have been done in order to have a safe race."
Hans Huseby, race co-director said security will mostly be "behind the scenes."
"Most of this we won't see, you won't recognize," he said, "They'll blend in with the crowd."
Huseby said it will be a very safe environment.
"Up until Boston, we had quite an innocent feeling, quite a naive feeling, why would anybody want to come to a running event and hurt somebody?" he said. "I have total confidence that the police will keep us safe."
During the run, bomb-sniffing dogs were along the course.
Maria Linares said she felt there was enough security.
"I saw police cars all over and people helping. Also, I've been seeing a helicopter since the morning, so I felt pretty secure," she said.
Still, the race was notably different from previous years.
"These people are not running for sport," Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said. "They're running for America. And it shows that Miami is not afraid."
The shirt of the first person to cross the finish line, Holassie, said it all: "Boston we stand with you."