Howard runners pay tribute to Boston Marathon victims

It started with a moment of silence, and ended in a triumph of spirit and physical accomplshment.

The second annual Athleta Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon & Coed 5K -- held Sunday, April 28 in downtown Columbia – was charged with emotion and adrenaline. The event benefited the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center at Howard County General Hospital and attracted more than 2,000 runners from ages 9 to 70.

"We could not have asked for a more beautiful day or a more energized crowd for this special event," said Kari Ebeling, chief operating officer of TriColumbia, in a statement. "The morning started off with a moment of silence to pay tribute to those tragically affected by the events at the Boston Marathon, followed by a remarkable race for our 2,000 runners.

"We would like to thank all of our sponsors, volunteers, charity teams and community groups for dedicating their time today to supporting our race, and congratulate those who finished today."

Bridget Holt, 34, of Gambrills, won the half marathon in 1:21:22, six seconds ahead of Suzanne Serpico, 32, of Columbia. Tyler Brannen, 40, of Nashua, N.H., was the top male in the 5K with a time of 19:43, and Emma Johnson, 32, of Alexandria, Va., was the top woman finisher in 22:14.

Diana Toronto, of Columbia, was honored with the Athleta "Power to the She" award. A mother of three and a breast cancer survivor, Toronto utilized the services provided by the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center throughout her treatment. Toronto, who this month will celebrate the five-year anniversary of her surgery, participated in the half marathon with Team Conquer Cancer, the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center's charity team to raise awareness and funds.


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