Race organizers increase security following Boston Marathon bombing
In the aftermath of the fatal bombing at the Boston Marathon, organizers at some of world’s largest road races are eyeing stricter security measures to keep participants safe.
Two bombs exploded April 15 near the finish line at the country’s oldest and most prestigious road race — killing three people and injuring at least 170 others in a tragic afternoon described by those there as “pandemonium,” according to news reports.
Here’s a round-up of how race organizers around the world are reacting:
- The Virgin London Marathon: The London race, scheduled for April 21, will go on as planned. The race attracts about 37,000 people. In response to the tragedy in Boston, London Marathon Chief Executive Nick Bitel said organizers are working with law enforcement officials to review security plans. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected and their family members and friends,” he said in a video posted on the race’s website. “It’s an awful day for Boston, but also for the family of athletics.”
- Peachtree Road Race: The July 4 race in Atlanta draws more than 50,000 participants and organizers are planning added security measures. The bombings in Boston resonated with some in Atlanta because of the bombing in the 1996 Olympics at Centennial Olympic Park, which killed two people and injured 11. Joggers in Atlanta are planning a memorial run for the victims of the Boston tragedy.
- Bloomsday Run: The 12K run in Spokane, Wash., will add police enforcement to the May 5 race. In Jan. 2011, a backpack with explosives was left along the Martin Luther King route in Spokane. The FBI’s explosive unit successfully disposed of the bomb.
- Bolder Boulder: Race organizers of this 10K Boulder, Colo., Memorial Day race will be meeting with police officers in coming weeks. The race tightened security after 9/11, sealing off portions of the University of Colorado stadium where the race finishes. Race director Cliff Bosley says there will be “hundreds” of law enforcement officials at the race that has attracted 53,000-some participants in past years.
- New York Marathon: The November marathon draws about 40,000 participants. Mary Wittenberg, chief of the New York City Marathon issued a statement following the Boston tragedy: “Marathons bring out the best of the human spirit and unite our cities and towns,” she said in the press statement. “This is a tragic day for all of us in the running community.”
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