Inside the Oak Long Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, runners, race officials, agents, coaches, and spectators ate postrace meals and watched televisions with the latest news on the blasts at the Boston Marathon finish. The hotel serves as the Marathon’s race headquarters and annually becomes a popular postrace gathering place for elite runners and their support teams.
The Oak Long Bar bustled Monday afternoon, but the mood was somber. Runners at the restaurant and in the lobby talked about what happened, tried to fathom what it all meant for marathons, for major sports events, for large public gatherings.
“I’ve lost sleep over the fact that you have 52 miles of open roadway, 26 on each side,” said Guy Morse, who served as Boston Marathon race director from 1985-2000 and BAA executive director from 2000-2010. “That’s the way I looked at it. You look at both sides of the road, as well as the course itself. It is impossible to secure it to the extent necessary. So, it has significant ramifications for major events.
“From the Olympics on down, we’re all in the same mode of providing as effective a security net as we can for runners and spectators.”
Certainly, the two Boylston Street bombings forever will change the Boston Marathon. The 117th edition of the race will be remembered for what happened in the finish area, the deaths and countless injuries. The future will bring tighter security in Boston and at marathons around the world, though security always has been a pressing concern for all marathon organizers.
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