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Bombings at the Boston Marathon should not dampen participation in the Blue Ridge Marathon.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
We still don’t know who is responsible for Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, a horror that reminds us of our vulnerability to the acts of evil men.
The explosions that killed three people and injured at least 176 more turned New England’s annual rite of spring into a nightmare, and revived questions about safety and security at events that draw tens of thousands of participants and spectators.
Monday’s tragedy surely will lead to heavier security at major, big-city marathons, like the fall races in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York. Even the organizers of Saturday’s much smaller Blue Ridge Marathon here in Roanoke plan to beef up an already strong police and emergency presence in response to the Boston bombings.
But that should not deter spectators from coming out and supporting the runners this weekend. One of the rewards for all the training it takes to complete a marathon is having family, friends and total strangers cheering for you as you grind through the miles on race day. And on this week, community support is “more important than ever,” race chairman Pete Eshelman said.
The organizers of the Blue Ridge Marathon have billed the race as America’s Toughest Road Marathon, run on a grueling course with equally breathtaking scenery. More than 1,600 runners have registered for Saturday’s marathon, half-marathon and marathon relay, a testament to the reputation the event has established in just its fourth year. Eshelman said there was a surge in race registrations and volunteers this week.
Race organizers plan to provide runners with stickers, ribbons and wristbands that can be worn to honor the Boston victims. The runners also will observe a moment of silence before setting off on their journey Saturday morning. Roanokers might want to do the same, then go out and cheer the runners on.
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