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April 27, 2013

Boston tragedy doesn't deter distance runners

(Continued)

Poss, 47, and Burnett, 56, have each participated in dozens of marathons. Running is such a big part of Poss’ life that he actually got married at the finish line of the 2010 Country Music Marathon. Yet in the wake of the Boston tragedy, they say Saturday’s event will stand out from the rest.

“I think it will be more emotional, especially at the start before we actually start running and moving,” Burnett said. “It’s going to be a little different outlook on things for sure.”

Organizers said 1,767 people signed up for their event from April 15 until online registration closed Sunday. That represented a 54 percent increase from the previous week, when 1,148 people registered. Sundlun said the biggest surge in registrations came in the three days after the Boston Marathon bombings.

“Is the running community intimidated by what took place in Boston? Absolutely not,” Sundlun said. “If anything, they’re saying, ‘No, no, no. Not on my turf. ... You’re not messing with me. I’m going to go run.’ “

Robbie Bruce of Nashville was just as determined.

He regularly trains distance runners and has competed in dozens of triathlons, but he had never signed up to participate in a full marathon before. The same day the bombings occurred, Bruce registered for the Country Music Marathon as a show of support.

“My first thought is I wanted to do something that showed regardless of if you want to put fear in people’s eyes or make them want to act a certain way, you’re not going to succeed,” Bruce said. “What better way than to sign up for a race that I never had intended to run?”

Organizers also have beefed up security for Saturday’s race.

Security will control entry and exit into each of the 32 runner corrals at the starting lineup. All participants, spectators and volunteers may be subject to random bag checks. Anyone with access to restricted areas must produce a photo ID.

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