Thousands of runners packed Broad Street today for the 34th annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run.
More than 40,000 participated in the ten mile race along Philadelphia's most famous thoroughfare, a straight-ahead course that began at Olney Street and ended at Farragut Street and the Navy Yard.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter kicked off the annual event shortly after 8:30 a.m. with a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. He then led the crowd of waiting runners in a chorus of “Sweet Caroline”, the crowd-pleasing song is a staple of Boston Red Sox games.
There were some changes along this year's route in light the tragic events in Boston last month.
Extra surveillance cameras and additional police officers-- both uniformed and undercover-- kept a close watch of the race route.
Runners and spectators were asked to leave backpacks and coolers at home.
"I feel good," said Mike Considine of Woolwich, New Jersey. "It's very safe here. I feel good with all the police officers. It's a good presence."
When participants picked up their race packets today, they were also given a clear plastic bag to use during the race, so that all belongings are visible.
"Obviously we had to step up our game plan just like everybody else in the country, said Jim Marino of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation. "We got great cooperation from from all the agency in the city."
As for the winners this year, Feisha Ayelle, 25, of Ethiopia was the top male finisher with a time of 47:02. The top female finisher was Askale Merachi, 26, with a time of 53:45. In the end it was a fun and most importantly, safe day in Philly.
"We get to run and support a good cause," said Wade Vandegrift of Flourtown. "We feel like we're part of the community and part of the city. It's a ton of fun."