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GLASS CITY MARATHON

6,000 runners swarm rain-soaked streets for Glass City Marathon

Moment of silence honors Boston victims

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    Carrie Zimmerman, from Bryan, Ohio, wears a yellow raincoat and a smile as she prepares to start the race.

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    Rainy, cool weather didn't keep fans from turning out to cheer on the runners at the University of Toledo.

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    Runners take off at the start of the 2013 Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon at the University of Toledo on Sunday.

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    Runners get ready to start the 5K and half marathon. Organizers of the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon say about 6,000 runners participated in the day's events.

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Runners get ready to start the 5K and half marathon. Organizers of the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon say about 6,000 runners participated in the day's events.

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A cool drizzle and a sky full of gray clouds greeted thousands of runners who showed up early Sunday to participate in the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon that began at the University of Toledo campus.

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Runners take off at the start of the 2013 Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon at the University of Toledo on Sunday.

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In other words, “it was the perfect weather to run in,” 21-year-old Travis Sharp, one of the first runners to complete the 5-kilometer race, said. Other events included the marathon, half marathon, and 5-person marathon relay.

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Rainy, cool weather didn't keep fans from turning out to cheer on the runners at the University of Toledo.

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Many runners agreed that the rain and cooler weather help prevent them from overheating.

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Carrie Zimmerman, from Bryan, Ohio, wears a yellow raincoat and a smile as she prepares to start the race.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

“I actually run better in the rain, probably because I just want to get out of it,” Mr. Sharp of Defiance said with a laugh.

The weather didn’t dampen the spirits of first-time runners Juliana Winkelman, 48, of Temperance and Rebecca Ballert, 27, of Toledo.

The mother-and-daughter duo began training for the 5K run several months ago when Mrs. Winkelman decided she wanted to “get healthy.”

“Yes, I was kind of reluctant at first,” Ms. Ballert admitted. “But it’s exciting. I woke up to some loud country music at 4:45 a.m. this morning and said, “Let’s go.”

A total of 6,000 runners participated in the various events, organizers reported.

The marathon began on a somber note as participants and spectators paused for a moment of silence to honor those injured and killed when two bombs were detonated near the Boston Marathon’s finish line April 15. Runners wore commemorative wristbands with the phrase “runners united,” in Boston’s official colors of yellow and blue.

Boston-related tensions surfaced later on with a brief panic when law enforcement officers inspected a runner’s backpack near the finish line.

Race director Clint McCormick said the Boston tragedy prompted Toledo organizers to beef up security at this year’s event. Dozens of Ohio Highway Patrol troopers, Toledo police, and University of Toledo campus officers maintained a very visible presence on campus.

The officers, accompanied by a drug and bomb-sniffing canine, were quick to stop, question, and search people who raised their suspicions. At 8:03 a.m., five state troopers and a dog suddenly converged on a runner who had just completed the 5-kilometer run.

When the runner approached a narrow entrance to the Glass Bowl stadium, where spectators greeted finishing runners, he was surrounded by the officers who stripped him of a large, green canvas backpack strapped to his back.

As the backpack was opened, several nearby people standing in line began screaming in panic and pushed and shoved each other as they tried to flee the stadium.

After a few tense moments, the crowd calmed down and order was restored. The runner was allowed to leave after police finished inspecting the bag, which had only contained a change of clothes and another pair of shoes. One of the state troopers angrily waved off questions about the incident afterward.

“Everything’s OK,” the unidentified state trooper yelled as he quickly walked away.

The runner who had been briefly detained was visibly shaken after police left. He declined to give his name but said officers “wanted to see what was in my bag. I didn’t have a problem with it.”

There were no serious problems during the event, campus police and other state troopers said.

Many runners and spectators said they were comforted to see so many police at the event. “I had no concerns about running today,” Diane Smith of Sandusky said. “It’s great to see all the officers out. There’s a lot of appreciation for them.”

The Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon is produced by the Toledo Roadrunners Club, a nonprofit organization that organizes several local running events every year.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com, or 419-724-6154.

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