Salt Lake Marathon: Bryant Jensen, Becky Sondag are the winners
The rain continually poured as helicopters swirled overhead. Utah Army National Guard members paced around the finish line, some with canine companions, scanning the finish-line crowd at Liberty Park.
The images of the chaos in Boston couldn't be ignored, but in Saturday's 10th annual Salt Lake City Marathon, crossing that imaginary line triumphant meant a bit more than it usually does under the circumstances.
Runners collapsed in the arms of friends and family.
Some cried. Some laughed. Some just kept on running, hand in hand.
"We're Americans," said Becky Sondag, who won the women's marathon with a time of 3 hours, 6 minutes and 32 seconds. "We find a way."
Participating in the first major marathon on American soil since Monday's deadly terrorist attacks on the finish line of the world's most storied race, runners powered through the elements and the emotions of a day that was a positive step as a nation continues to heal.
"We're going to continue to celebrate life," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who stood near the finish line for over two hours congratulating winners.
Saturday was an ideal day to do so.
Upwards of 7,000 competitors raced in the marathon, half marathon, bike race, 5K and other events associated with the Salt Lake City Marathon, but the scene at Liberty Park was one that was hard to forget.
When Bryant Jensen crossed the finish line as the winner of the 2013 event with a time of 2:30:14, Becker and Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank held out the tape for the 29-year-old Ogden native to burst through.
"My fingers are numb," he said, his eyes watery, "but I'm doing great."
Having won Saturday, Jensen qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon, which he already plans on participating in next year.
"Boston has always been on my mind," he said.
Barry Rose was in Boston on Monday. He was running in his second marathon there and was stopped about 200 yards from the finish line one of the first runners to be halted when the two blasts went off.
"I really felt like I needed to do this, for Boston, and for myself," he said after embracing his wife Sharon, his yellow Boston jersey soaked from rain and sweat. "I didn't get to cross the finish line, I didn't get a medal."
"Unfinished business" is the term Zianibeth Shattuck-Owen used when describing the urge to run Saturday. A lingering foot injury kept her from running the entire marathon, but the Park City resident who was stopped a mile short of the finish line Monday joined the group of Utah runners with two miles to go and made certain she'd cross the finish line.
"Even though somebody tried to spread darkness, it didn't succeed," she said.
Both Rose and Shattuck-Owen are planning on returning to Boston in 12 months in search of the finish that was stolen from them Monday afternoon.
"Before I left," Shattuck-Owen said, "I made hotel reservations."
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1. Bryant Jensen, Ogden, 2:30:14
2. Seth Wold, Lehi, 2:38:39
3. Michael Nelson, Lehi, 2:40:18
4. Albert Wint, Ogden, 2:42:19
5. John Rosswog, SLC, 2:47:25
1. Becky Sondag, Casper, Wyo., 3:06:32
2. Sarah Ziherl, Denver, 3:10:42
3. Kim Legones, Provo, 3:15:02
4. Laurissa Neuenschwander, Kaysville, 3:16:10
5. Anne Marie Landry, Calgary, Alberta, 3:18:53
O For results of the Salt Lake City Marathon, half marathon, 5K, bike marathon and kids marathon, go to