Tragedy will impact local race security

The Boston Marathon’s tragic conclusion has prompted some event organizers to review the safety of s

The Boston Marathon’s tragic conclusion has prompted some event organizers to review the safety of several large races slated for the Capital Region this spring and summer.

The two blasts that ripped through throngs of spectators in Boston occurred almost exactly a month before CDPHP’s Workforce Challenge —a 5-kilometer race in Albany considered the largest in the Capital Region. Race director Mark Warner said the two explosions will certainly cause a review of procedures and a broader discussion with city police, who staff the event.

“You can’t predict everything, but at least we should have due diligence,” he said.

The mid-May race that usually draws more than 10,000 runners and twice that many of spectators does benefit from security already on hand at the Capitol. Warner said there’s a degree of solace provided by the course, which starts and finishes by the Empire State Plaza.

George Regan, event director for the annual Freihofer’s Run for Women in early June, agreed. But he also believes what happened in Boston will ultimately have an impact on how security is provided in the future at his 5-kilometer run and many others around the Northeast.

“Obviously, this is going to have an impact,” he said, “but it’s not really up to me. … I’m going to have to rely on the public safety people to work through this.”

Regan said he’ll be watching closely the lessons learned in Boston during the run up to his race, which draws about 7,000 runners and roughly 20,000 spectators. Ultimately, he’ll have to rely on decisions made at the public safety level.

“We need to work with the experts on this and come up with a plan,” he said, “and that’s what we intend to do.”

Peter Poutus, co-director of July’s Firecracker4 in Saratoga Springs, said race organizers are often trying to prepare for a worst-case scenario. And in the wake of the bombings, he believes safety will be an even greater concern.

“This year, we’re going to think of it more,” he said. “We just need to be diligent.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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