- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002

Sniper attacks have forced changes to several Washington area races this weekend. Some races were canceled, while others were postponed.

"Once the shooting happened [yesterday] in [Fredricksburg], we decided to cancel," said Neil H. Greenberger, spokesman for the Rockville 10K/5K. "Here's the key question: If we put everything in place and do everything right and something still happens, what will the headline read in the paper? How are you going to explain that? The chances of something happening [are] very, very slim, but how does somebody justify taking that risk?"

Rockville had between 500 and 600 entrants and was expecting more than 1,000 runners on race day. The race was in its 27th year and considered the oldest continuing road race in Montgomery County. The Race for Mental Health in Rock Creek Park and the inaugural Men's Season 5K in Fort Washington, both scheduled for today, were postponed. The Run for Kathy 5K, scheduled for today in Bowie, was canceled.

The Men's Season 5K has been rescheduled for next Saturday, according to race official Bob Platt.

Ken Long, co-race director of the Run for Kathy 5K, canceled his race last night.

"The police were pretty uncomfortable with it, the volunteers were pretty uneasy about it, but the runners really wanted it to go on," said Long, who has been co-director since the inaugural run in 1999. "We were also worried about being in tomorrow's paper."

The course is two to three miles from Benjamin Tasker Middle School, where a 13-year-old boy was critically shot Monday.

"If the shooting hadn't happened in Bowie, the feeling [for] canceling the race wouldn't be so strong," Long said.


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