As it turns out, the key to finishing a marathon is the same as overcoming a terrorist attack.
You keep moving forward, said Mick Allen, a volunteer at Sundays Tacoma City Marathon and participant in the past 12 Boston Marathons. Marathoners do that as well as anybody. Americans do that as well anybody.
That seemed to be the case Sunday as more than 2,000 participants ran the city streets. Some wore signs or ribbons in tribute to those affected by the April 15 Boston bombing that killed three and injured more than 260. Others put a hand over their heart when they crossed the finish line.
There were extra police and a bomb squad, but also more spectators than normal.
If there was any fear, it was in the minds of the runners as they pondered what toll the heat might take on their legs in the final miles.
As temperatures climbed above 70 degrees, the warmest in the races seven-year history, the challenge of covering 26.2 miles 13.1 miles for some increased.
The heat might have played a role in ending a dynasty. After winning the first six Tacoma City Marathons, Tacoma physical therapist Michael Lynes finished second Sunday. He was 2 minutes, 29 seconds behind Seattles Bill Condon, who finished in 2:43:52.
Lynes, 46, and Condon, 32, were tied with three miles to go.
I got a little dehydrated and then I was cooked, Lynes said. I tried to press, but I couldnt.
Ruth Perkins of Puyallup cruised to her second victory in the womens marathon, finishing in 2:52:22. Perkins, faster than all but seven men, had her thighs wrapped in ice and was congratulating other finishers by the time Tacomas Gretchen Van Dyke took second place in 3:11:57.
Alycia Hill of Woodinville won the half-marathon in 1:27:02. She was 2 minutes, 14 seconds faster than mens champion John Wylie.
Most marathons are about the masses rather than the athletically gifted who challenge for the first-place trophy. On Sunday, this seemed especially so.
Brothers Andy Piercy, 57, and Tim Piercy, 49, ran in honor of Andys son, who passed away, and a family member who is battling lung cancer. They finished just under 3:30, and a few minutes later Allen approached to tell them Tim had qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Would you be nervous to run Boston? one runner asked.
Not at all, the Fircrest resident said. It would be an honor to run for the people who passed away and were injured.
They picked the wrong group of people, Andy said. Marathoners are a pretty tough group.
Darcy Zook of Oak Harbor and her daughter Jessica ran the half-marathon with 4-15-13 signs pinned on the back of their shirts. Their goal is to run 13 half-marathons this year, and theyll wear the signs at each race.
I think a lot more people are getting into the running spirit since the Boston bombings, Darcy said. I see so many people out here giving support.
Grant Berthiaume, 51, of Tucson, Ariz., won the wheelchair race. Hes one of three men with spinal cord injuries participating in 50 marathons in 50 states this year to bolster support for the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation. Tacoma was the groups 17th marathon this year.
Berthiaume lost the use of his legs after falling off a house he was framing 25 years ago. He says he needed a year to come to grips with the injury but has found joy in marathoning. Hes completed more than 75 races over the past 15 years and will compete in Wisconsin next week.
Hes competed in Boston previously, but didnt make the trip this year.
Ive definitely noticed more security at races the last few weeks, Berthiaume said. But thats about the only big difference.
That alone says much about peoples resiliency, Allen said.
I dont like that we have to have more security, he said. Just like I dont like that I have to take my shoes off at the airport now. But we do what we have to do and we keep moving forward.
Craig Hill: 253-597-8497