Saturday marked the 32nd annual Crazylegs Classic in Madison. But this year's race carried a somewhat different feeling and a different meaning. Although everything ran smoothly in downtown Madison, the tragedy in Boston was fresh in the minds of many.
Among the more than 16,000 runners, one color stood out in the crowd.
"I'm here today really to run in memory of those who experienced that day." In her yellow jersey, matching shorts and freshly-inked tattoo, Wendy Bowe vividly remembers the bombs that went off just 40 minutes after she crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
"I was actually about two blocks away," Bowe said. "Saw the smoke and the chaos that was going on."
Crazylegs organizers stepped up security for Saturday's race as a result of what happened at the marathon.
"It was a game-changer," said UW-Madison Police PIO Marc Lovicott. "We did have extra officers and security staff at the event today. We also had our bomb dogs, which is new. We have officers stationed at strategic places all around Camp Randall and on the route itself. They're helping people, but they're also looking for suspicious things if anything does come up."
Although police say there was no threat to the athletes or the public, they did receive one call of a report of a suspicious bag. After further inspection, it was determined the bag was just someone's unattended belongings. Despite the false alarm, Lovicott says the call showed people are doing the right thing and being extra alert.
"It's really reassuring that citizens are a lot more vigilant, they're watching for things and we can respond appropriately," he said.
Bowe says she was never worried about running in Crazylegs, even after her experience in Boston.
"It doesn't bother me to run in Madison, it feels very safe to me," she said. "But also Boston felt very safe to me as well. I think I'm more detemined at this point to be in these experiences and to get myself back to Boston."
Bowe says she wants to qualify for the marathon again next year, and this time with her husband also running by her side--a goal she proudly wears Saturday in honor of the Boston and the running community, with support from the community here at home.
"It was a bit surreal," Bowe said. "Every step of the race to be able to hear people cheering you on and saying thank you and congratulations."