INDIANAPOLIS — Bundled up against the cold and with tears in their eyes, dozens of runners unable to complete the Boston Marathon due to the bombings last month finally finished their runs over the famed yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday.
The runners were honored at the Indianapolis 500 by having the opportunity to run down the front stretch moments before to the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Thousands of people, including some crew members of the race teams, cheered them on as they ran down pit road.
Jennifer Black, a 61-year-old from Loveland, Ohio, said she ran to the finish line with tears in her eyes after she saw her husband waving to her from the track’s fourth turn.
“I was crying while I was running and blowing kisses to the crowd,” she said.
The group crossed the finish line flanked by firefighters and police officers, breaking the tape less than 10 minutes before the command was given to start the engines.
“It was incredible. I have never run through a crowd like this,” said Amber Larason of Nashville, Tenn., who was running the Boston Marathon with her mom and about two miles from the finish line on Boylston Street when the bombs exploded on April 15.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Larason said. “It was amazing.”
All the runners who participated yesterday were pulled off the Boston Marathon course by officials after the bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 250. Speedway officials extended an invitation to finish to the Boston Athletic Association, which contacted runners from Indiana and nearby states.
“The tragedy last month in Boston still resonates with everyone, so we wanted to give runners the chance to finish the race in front of thousands of fans who will appreciate their persistence and determination,” said Doug Boles, the speedway’s chief operating officer.