Tragedy

04.15.13

Running Community in Shock Over Boston Marathon Bombings

Across the country, organizers of other major marathons expressed horror and empathy for participants in the Boston race.

Organizers of the nation’s other major races reacted with horror to the bombings that killed at least two and injured dozens more at Monday’s Boston Marathon. 

The Boston Marathon is one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious running events, with 27,000 participants in the 2013 race and more than half a million spectators. Runners from every state in the nation and over 90 countries participated before the race was halted immediately after the explosions.

Mary Wittenberg, the president and CEO of New York Road Runners, which puts on the ING New York Marathon each November, released the following statement on Monday evening, indicating that safety at future marathons is an immediate concern.

“All of our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families of the bombings at the Boston Marathon today, as well as with the runners, spectators, volunteers and staff of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). Marathons bring out the best of the human spirit and unite our cities and towns. This is a tragic day for all of us in the running community. We are here in full support of our close friends at the BAA. 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.”

A spokeswoman for the Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, which is scheduled for June 2, said: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragedy in Boston today. Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims and all those affected.”

Leadership for other upcoming races declined to comment further out of respect to the Boston Marathon and Boston Athletic Association.

Virginia Brophy Achman, the executive director of Twin Cities in Motion, which puts on the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis–St. Paul every fall, said the bombings in Boston immediately made her “reflect on safety, which is always first and foremost for us.”

“If there’s something to learn from this incident, we will review and incorporate it,” she told The Daily Beast.

“Your thoughts go to the participants first. They worked so hard and planned and trained for this, and for many of them it’s a first-time goal. It’s just really sad to see others want to interfere with that.”

But Brophy Achman says this won’t stop people from participating in marathons across the country.

“It’s human nature to be concerned,” she said, “but our runners will be back.”