Boston Marathon Bombings: London Marathon To Take Place As Scheduled On Sunday
The London Marathon “will go ahead as planned this Sunday despite fears over the safety of runners and spectators following the explosions” at the Boston Marathon yesterday, according to Nick Pearce of the London TELEGRAPH. U.K. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said that there was “no question of calling off the event and that he was ‘absolutely’ confident of keeping the event safe and secure.” Marathon organizers “will be reviewing the security measures for the race.” Robertson said that London’s “recent experiences of hosting an incident-free Olympic Games left it well prepared” (London TELEGRAPH, 4/16). USA TODAY’s Kelly Whiteside notes London is “familiar with large-scale security operations,” but marathons are “difficult events to police.” London Marathon CEO Nick Bitel: “When you have an event of any nature, a marathon, parade, it’s only as safe as the city itself. If it’s not held in a stadium, you can’t do a lockdown like you may do in a building” (USA TODAY, 4/16). Robertson when asked if he believed the event should go on said, “Yes, I do. These are a balance of judgments but we are absolutely confident here that we can keep the event safe and secure. I think this is one of those incidents where the best way to show solidarity with Boston is to continue and send a very clear message to those responsible.” In London, O’Connor & O’Neill note the London Marathon is “the world’s largest, attracting more than 37,000 entries last year and 650,000 spectators.” But it has “long been considered a potential terrorist target” (LONDON TIMES, 4/16). Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry said that “although a well-oiled security plan was already in place, it would be immediately revisited in co-operation with organizers” (GUARDIAN, 4/16). A security official said that there is “no known specific or credible threat” currently against the London Marathon (London INDEPENDENT, 4/16).
SALT LAKE A GO FOR SATURDAY: Salt Lake City Marathon Dir Steve Bingham said that the organization “did not once entertain the notion of canceling Saturday’s race after learning of the explosions in Boston.” Bingham said that there “will be a public safety meeting” today, one that has “been on the books for months, which will feature organizers, law enforcement and representatives from the cities involved with the marathon.” Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said that his department “will review and perhaps update security plans over the coming days” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 4/16). Bingham said that organizers have been “meeting each month with local police agencies to review security and a meeting was already scheduled” for this morning. Former '02 Salt Lake Games Organizing Committee COO Fraser Bullock said that “vigilance along the race route can be provided through police, bomb-sniffing dogs and volunteers, but it comes down to whether someone tries to take advantage of any ‘weak spots’ along the way.” In Utah, Amy Donaldson notes the race “will attract between 7,000 and 10,000 participants” (DESERET NEWS, 4/16).
NYRR UNCERTAIN ABOUT HALF-MARATHON: The BOSTON HERALD notes the N.Y. Road Runners Half-Marathon is “scheduled for May 18 in Brooklyn,” but it is “unclear whether it will go ahead” (BOSTON HERALD, 4/16). In N.Y., Nathaniel Vinton notes this year’s N.Y. Marathon, which is “expected to draw more than 40,000 competitors and countless supporters to the city, is scheduled for Nov. 3.” NYRR President & CEO Mary Wittenberg in a statement said, "The safety and security of all New York Road Runners' races is and will always be our top priority. We will continue to work hand in hand with the City of New York and the NYPD as we plan for upcoming events” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/16).
MONITORING EVENTS: In Indianapolis, Jill Disis notes the Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is May 4, and Indianapolis Public Safety Dir Troy Riggs said that local law enforcement is “paying careful attention to the events unfolding in Boston.” Riggs said that he “planned to review all operational plans for the annual 13.1 mile race through city streets and around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” The race “draws about 35,000 people annually.” Riggs said that he “thought Mini-Marathon participants have no reason to be worried” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/16). Meanwhile, Louisville officials said that it is “too soon to say whether the explosions at the Boston Marathon will result in security changes for the Kentucky Derby and Derby Festival.” Kentucky Derby Festival officials yesterday said that the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks and airshow “will continue as scheduled Saturday.” Festival CEO Mike Berry said that the “same is true for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and Mini-Marathon scheduled for April 27.” Festival VP Matt Gibson said that those events are “expected to draw 17,000 race participants and about 40,000 spectators” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/16)....
STEPPING UP SECURITY: Nashville Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson said that security “will be stepped up” for the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon on April 27. About 30,000 participants are expected (TENNESSEAN.com, 4/15)....Competitor Group President & CEO Scott Dickey, whose group oversees the Rock & Roll Marathon Series, said precautions will be taken "to the next level" following the Boston bombings. But he did not give any specifics (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/16)....The Mercedes-Benz Miami Corporate Run is expected to have “more than 25,000 runners ... converge in downtown Miami” for the event on April 25. As of yesterday, “460 tents -- at least 50 more than ever before -- had been ordered by participating teams.” The tents “will cover much of Bayfront Park.” Race Dir & Producer Hans Huseby said that race representatives “will meet with Miami Fire-Rescue officials” this morning to “discuss the situation, then meet with Miami police later in the day” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/16).