Well-guarded Corporate 5K run finishes without a hitch

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ORLANDO, Fla. - As a sea of runners hit the pavement Thursday night, local authorities made their heightened security presence in downtown Orlando known.

In the air, the sheriff's helicopter circled the 5K route. On the ground, more than 70 off-duty police officers lined every corner.

Spectator Jenny Church said she wasn't concerned.

"You can't be scared every time you turn the corner, every race," Church said.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, organizers dedicated Orlando's race to those hurt or killed in the attack.

Mayor Buddy Dyer even ran wearing a Boston Red Sox cap.

He said Orlando runners have nothing to worry about.

"We have certainly heightened our presence. We had officers out here with dogs earlier today, people can feel they're safe and (secure). We know how to handle events of this sort," Dyer said.

"If anything, I feel like it's making people run a little bit harder," runner Sheila Sullivan said.

Police spent the day checking backpacks, coolers and large bags at 12 stations.

Even police officers ran the route in a race that went into the night, and apparently finished without a hitch.

"Orlando police and firefighters, not only are they in the race, but they are barricaded around the race as well and keeping everybody safe," runner Ally Falls said.

A record number of walkers and runners turned out for the event with 16,500 participants.

“In fact, we've had more people sign up than we ever have the last few days,” said race director Jon Hughes.

Hughes said most people signing up last minute said it was in response to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the running community showing support for the victims.

Since Monday, 1,200 more people registered, officials said.

Race organizers hired 70 off-duty police officers to work the event, and all back packs, coolers and large bags were checked at 12 stations.

Along with the extra security, another 75 police officers ran in the 5K.

Police Chief Paul Rooney had released a statement saying safety was the No. 1 concern, and there would be significant law enforcement and security presence at upcoming events.

Hughes was in Boston and finished minutes before the bombs went off. He said security for the Corporate 5K is critical, but so is staging the race as a statement.

 "We need to come together for our fellow runners, for all those that were involved, victims, friends, families, and to show as Americans we come together to do the things that we love," said Hughes.

The Track Shack released the following statement:

"For every race, we have police along the route and at every major intersection. For the IOA Corporate 5K we will have 67 Orlando police officers at Lake Eola Park and along the route and supported by approximately 130 course volunteers."

Due to the 5K, the following streets were closed: Central Boulevard from Summerlin Avenue to Rosalind Avenue from 12:00 Noon until 11:00 p.m., and Robinson Street from Rosalind Avenue to Bumby Avenue from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

The race began at 7:15 p.m.

After the race was over, the Sgt. Jim Young with the Orlando Police Department released the following statement:

"Just to let everyone know that the Corporate 5k has ended, and the event at Lake Eola is coming to a close.  Everything went well with nothing to report. The Orlando Police Department would like to thank everyone involved, including TrackShack, all who attended, and the cooperative efforts of the local and state agencies with thier assistance, to include the Orange County Sheriffs Office.  Thank you and have a good night."