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Boston Marathon bombing could affect local events

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Apr 16 2013 01:57:04 AM CDT

Organizers of a weekend race in Colorado Springs are deciding whether changes in security are needed.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Security at races and other events across the country could change because of the bombing Monday at the Boston Marathon.

Organizers of a race in Colorado Springs are discussing that possibility.  The second-annual Big Mountain Trail Run is scheduled for Sunday in North Cheyenne Canon.  The event offers a half-marathon, 5K and 10K races.

"We're going to be meeting between now and the race," said co-organizer James Luttrall.  "We'll discuss the happenings of (Monday) and (decide) if any necessary changes will be required."

Luttrall said police will be providing traffic control during the event.

"But they'd certainly be available as first responders also," he said.

Luttrall said all of the 300 registered runners will be identified by wearing numbers, and staff will wear race jerseys.  He said several ham radio operators will work the event to provide another level of security.

"But we know that nobody is in control of whether or not stuff happens, said Luttrall.  "We can be completely prepared.  The Boston Marathon had immense security and still this kind of a tragedy (happened)."

Luttrall said none of the runners who plan to attend the race has expressed concern about safety.  He suggested that more resources be spent on teaching people to avoid violence, rather than continue to spend more money on security that isn't guaranteed to be perfect.

Luttrall said organizers gained experience in dealing with an unexpected incident last June, when the Waldo Canyon fire ignited during one of their run and bike races.

"A lot of the flames were less than a mile from our course," he said.  "We had to suspend the race as we assessed the situation.  There were 120 racers spread around.  We had to get them out quickly and safely."

The fire department has two teams that can respond to local events: a special events team of up to eight people; and a tactical emergency medical support team in case of a bombing or other emergency.

"We'll respond in heavy gear with armored vests and helmets," said David Broch of the fire department.  "We'll respond in support of any SWAT team call-outs."

Another popular local event that could be affected by the bombing is the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon on Aug. 17-18.  Vice President Matt Lawrence, a 12-time winner of the Marathon, declined an interview Monday.  However, he said on phone that he refuses to allow a terrorist or criminal to change the way he lives.

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