As a result of the sport's participatory nature, most race directors say they will be reaching out to the public for their assistance in watching for individuals with potentially nefarious purposes. "That is definitely something we will be more aggressive with," says Nealis. "We will be using social media and other outlets to ask people to report anything that seems strange. We need more people with eyes."
With only a week until their next big U.S. event, Cruz says that spectators will play an important role in the security plan. "We have been working with the Nashville Police Department to implement a plan to get the public and runners to look for specific behavior and report it."
"From a communication and awareness perspective, we can always improve," says Morehead. In preparation for the Houston Marathon, officials connect with volunteers directly and use mass emailing and social networking to communicate with runners and spectators. Not only will these communications remind spectators to be vigilant, but they will also assure them of the event's continued security efforts.
Will the Boston Bombings Slow Race Registrations?
Fortunately, race directors across the country and around the world are known for their collaborative efforts. "Race directors are already connecting and saying we need to get together to share best practices," says Brophy Achman.
Nealis echoes her point, saying, "It's a very small community and there are very few things not shared among race directors." Aside from sponsorship deals, working as a team to provide everything from better security to the right amount of water at aid stations continues to make the sport better as a whole.
"After this we will see what our friends in Boston come up with in their analysis and, together with the other World Marathon Majors, we will decide which additional measures are to be taken," says Steffens.
It seems that in the case of marathons, a rising tide raises all boats. You'll certainly be hard pressed to find anyone in the business of running who thinks the Boston tragedy will slow the current boom. All say they have seen an uptick in registration in the days following the tragedy. "We are in the business of withstanding and being resilient, and runners aren't the type to run away," says Cruz.
"Our runners have responded very strongly," says Smith. "They are responding with their feet, with our registration figures increasing five fold since last Monday."
"I hear more people now that say they are going to do everything they need to do to qualify for Boston next year," says Morehead. "That's a reflection of the spirit of this industry."marathon.