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Boston Marathon Bombings: Race Directors Grapple With Security Concerns
Published April 17, 2013
INSURING THE RISKS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Kevin Helliker writes “high among the list of concerns” for Road Runners Club of American Exec Dir Jean Knaack is “whether race-insurance policies will cover bombings of the sort that struck Boston's marathon.” Organizers of many races “obtain insurance through RRCA, although the Boston Marathon acquires insurance independently.” Knaack said, “Terrorism insurance is almost cost prohibitive." Helliker notes another big concern of race execs is “how to go about bolstering security if ‘bolstering security’ means trying to screen tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of spectators lining a 26.2-mile course.” Former elite marathon runner and coach Alberto Salazar said, "How do you secure a marathon now? It could be that a mile from the finish, you need more surveillance, but I don't know what the answer will be" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/17). Toronto police said that they have “no plans to bring in additional officers" for the city's marathon in May despite Monday’s bombing. GoodLife Fitness Marathon Race Dir Jay Glassman yesterday said, “Our venue is 42 kilometres long … and it’s just not feasible to lock down that entire venue. You’re talking about the entire city” (TORONTO STAR, 4/17).
DIFFICULT SITUATION: The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan noted making the entire length of a marathon course completely secure will be a "very, very difficult situation for the authorities to confront.” Ryan: "You can’t police 26 miles, and that’s before we even get into the discussion about the immediate area and the commerce that goes on. It’s not anything that can be cordoned off" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/16). Greater Boston Track Club coach Tom Derderian said, "This is a 26-mile foot race. With both sides of the street, that's 52 miles to secure. How? You can't have everyone go through metal detectors." Marine Corps Marathon Race Dir Rick Nealis said, "In stadiums, turnstiles, hardened buildings, you can control who's going in, and do all the safety checks and have a secure event. On roads, in an open venue, when you take 26.2 miles of open space, it's the beauty of the sport and at the same time, in this day and age, part of the risk assessment. Unless we decide we're going to run around a track in quarter-mile loops hundreds of times" (AP, 4/17).