With race day rapidly approaching, the James Joyce Ramble 10K is experiencing an unexpected problem: more late entrants than expected. And race director Martin Hanley is scrambling to accommodate the larger field before the starting gun goes off Sunday at 11 a.m. in Dedham. In a typical year, the Ramble hosts about 1,800 runners. This year, Hanley expects the field to be “well over 2,000.”
Hanley attributes the late surge, and the long registration and bib number pickup lines outside City Sports at Dedham’s Legacy Place, to the running community’s desire to race and reflect on what happened in Copley Square on April 15.
“This is the first big opportunity for a lot of athletes who are really competitive in New England and masters from across the country to get together and share their feelings about what happened at the Boston Marathon,” said Hanley. “It’s a coming together to hug each other. People just want to be together. Now, they might as well run and have a beer afterwards and talk about it.
“The Boston Marathon belongs to New England, to Boston, to the people. There’s a sense of ownership about it. When it’s attacked, it’s a lot for people to process.”
In the wake of the bombings, Hanley “spent three full days” reviewing and revising security plans for the James Joyce Ramble with the help of local public safety officials. He said there will be an increase in security of “25 to 30 percent,” including more police officers, extra ambulances, some video surveillance, and a special emergency response vehicle stationed in the middle of all the action.
The race website also alerted participants about some of the enhanced security measures, emphasizing that no unattended bags can be left on the Endicott Estate or in nearby neighborhoods, and that there will be no baggage check-in available. The advisory also notes that the race will have security personnel sweeping the Estate and surrounding area for unattended bags.
While some security contractors volunteered their time to walk through the crowd, Hanley paid for much of the additional protection out of his own pocket.
“It wasn’t an enormous financial hit, but I’m going to feel it,” said Hanley. “Still, it’s a small price to pay for everybody’s peace of mind and for their personal security.”
That said, Hanley hopes much of the added security will go unnoticed by runners and spectators.
“Between the extra measures we’ve taken, the extra measures public safety in Dedham has taken and the public, I think we’re in good shape,” said Hanley. “I’m going to work very hard to make sure that we’re a seamless event. I just want everybody to have a good time Sunday and I want them to come back, too.”