The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Spokane filled the downtown area with a crowd dressed in pink in the seventh running of the five kilometer event this morning.
Spokane police put on extra officers to make sure the event stayed safe just six days after two terrorists detonated two shrapnel-filled bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Shae Fasbender, race chair, said the violence in Boston did little to deter people from turning out today. She said the number of participants was up this year to nearly 8,000 walkers and runners, including a surge in late registrations. Last year, registration totaled 7,500.
“A lot of survivors said, ‘I survived cancer, I’m showing up,’” Fasbender said.
Spokane Mayor David Condon called out to the crowd, “You all look really good in all that pink.”
He then asked for a moment of silence just before the start of the race to remember the victims of last week’s bombing in Boston.
It was the second moment of silence in the pre-start festivities. Race officials also had a moment of silence for the people who lost their battles with cancer. That moment ended with the release of helium-filled pink balloons.
Police Chief Frank Straub said that he ordered an increase in police presence to be on the safe side.
Officers moved throughout the course checking for any suspicious activity. One officer was even looking in trash cans in the causeway next to the INB Performing Arts Center on Spokane Falls Boulevard.
The Spokane Police Department employed social media to relay the message via Twitter: “Having a great time at #RaceForTheCure. We’re out in extra numbers.”
Cancer survivor Georgi Valley, of Spokane, was at the race with two dozen family members, all wearing shirts that said, “I wear pink for Georgi.”
Valley turns 70 on Monday and is getting ready for her 50th wedding anniversary in July, dates that were made possible because of treatments that have left her free of cancer for five years, she said.
Among her family supporters at the race was her husband, Jerry, and son, Jeff.
“It gives you hope when you see so many people here who have survived or are going through it,” Valley said.