Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Not Even Snipers Can Stop Runners

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Not Even Snipers Can Stop Runners

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

Carrie Williams' friends kept saying she was crazy.

Well, the "non-runner" friends did.

The runners understood.

Here it was Wednesday afternoon -- long before the early-morning arrest of two men in connection with the Washington, D.C. killings -- and Williams, her husband, Ronnie, and their three daughters were busy packing for a trip to D.C.

In D.C., events had been canceled. Schools had been closed. People were staying inside, avoiding going to restaurants and malls. Redskins quarterback Shane Matthews even had sent family members back to Florida.

Meanwhile, more than 30 people from North Florida not only were heading to D.C., they were planning, snipers or not, to join 25,000 others on a 26.2-mile run through the streets of the city in the 27th annual Marine Corps Marathon.

Even in the sanest of times, this event is a logistical challenge. The course winds through Arlington and Georgetown, around the Capitol, past the Washington Monument, across the Potomac River and by the Pentagon.

And these, of course, are not the sanest of times.

Last year, D.C. was dealing with anthrax.

This year, snipers.

But the race goes on, becoming part sporting event, part symbolic march.

If you hold it, they will come.

Perhaps even if you don't, they will come.

In two weeks, 5,000 more runners will gather in Richmond, Va., to cover a 26.2-mile course that runs close to the now-infamous Ponderosa in Ashland. One woman, whose husband is running the Richmond Marathon, posted a note on the race's Web site, pleading with organizers to cancel. Runners responded, begging them not to give in. Some even proposed an "unofficial" race, saying they would meet at the starting line and still run the course.

That wasn't necessary. …

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