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Illinois Marathon Organizers Review Security
CHAMPAIGN-- The local running community is still trying to cope with the bombings at Monday's Boston Marathon.
For Boston Marathoner Patrick Ford, who had finished his race and was on his way to the airport when the bombs went off, it doesn't make much sense. "I don't feel like running is a selfish sport, it's a humble sport and you just work hard and do your best."
But despite concerns, officials say even as the situation in Boston was unfolding, about 400 new runners registered for the Illinois Marathon on Monday, and many more have called expressing interest. Randy Stearns will be running in the 5K: "It should be a fun event, and I think it will be, but I think it's probably in the back of people's minds, something like that when you get a big group together."
The Illinois Marathon's Emergency Services Director is Scott Friedlein, who says, "It's interesting because it's not making people shy away from the event, if anything, it's creating a stronger bond."
Illinois Marathon organizers face the reality of having to reassess their safety procedures in light of the events in Boston. "We're going to use whatever information we have, we're going to reach out and get as much information as possible so that we're covering all of our bases here locally. Are we a threat? As I mentioned, we're not Boston, but we are an event that's drawing nearly 20,000 or over 20,000 runners."
Officials say there are no threats to the Illinois Marathon, but they will be addressing any and every security concern. Only bags provided by the race will be allowed, and each one will be inspected by security and held at the race. Friedlein says, "It is a very positive event for the community, we don't want people to be afraid, and ironically enough, the most interesting thing has been that in fact we have people who are still wanting to sign up."
Adam Rife reporting