ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- More than 1,200 people packed into downtown Rockford for the city’s annual marathon. Those runners, included two local athletes who crossed the finish line in Boston last month around the time of the bombings.
Sunday’s Rockford Marathon holds special meaning for every one of the 1,200 registered runners.
For some it’s their first attempt at a 26.2 mile race, while for others it’s a day to bond with friends.
For Jen Black and Tara Sheetz, it’s a chance to move forward after crossing the finish line around the time of the Boston Marathon bombings.
“I just think it’s kinda neat for both of us to get out there. We’re showing our support for the Boston people. We’re showing that we can get out there and run again,” said Black.
“TO me it’s about moving forward. There’s a lot of bad in this world and there’s also a lot of good, and a lot of people have reached out,” said Sheetz.
Security was beefed up at the start and finish of the race as well as along the entire route. Multiple departments were on hand to keep runners safe which meant athletes could focus on their race while the cheerleaders could focus on the cheering.
Scott Swanson played music from “Rocky” while his daughter raced. At times he even took his handmade sign and joined her on the course.
Black managed to take first place among the female masters while Sheetz broke her Boston Marathon time as well as the fear that had plagued her since the bombings.
Arturs Bareikis of Crestwood won the men’s race in a Rockford Marathon record time of 2 Hours and 34 minutes. Rockford native, Jennifer Roser wont eh Women’s race in 3 hours 22 minutes.