Security heightened for first post-bombing race in Triangle
Posted April 19, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Organizers of the Tar Heel 10-Miler race in Chapel Hill on Saturday have beefed up security in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Steve Lackey, founder of the race, which is in its sixth year, said he immediately began working with Chapel Hill police, Orange County deputies and campus police for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after Monday's bombing, which killed three and wounded about 170.
"This isn't their first rodeo. They know how to handle situations like this," Lackey said.
He declined to elaborate on security measures, other than noting that the 5,200 runners and spectators would see an increased police presence on the route, which begins and ends at Kenan Stadium and winds through downtown Chapel Hill and a few neighborhoods.
"It was inevitable we were going to have to apply these additional safety procedures," he said, noting the race's growth in recent years. "This is an impetus for us to do it sooner."
After people asked how they could show support for those killed and hurt at the marathon, race organizers printed about 4,000 yellow "Boston" stickers for runners to wear on their numbered bibs, Lackey said.
"This year, I believe, it's a real demonstration of the resiliency and solidarity for the community, not just in our community but the nation as a whole," he said.
Runner Courtney Murphy said her pre-race jitters are a combination of excitement and anxiety.
"We're running this race for them, and so we're very excited to do that for them and in memory for those who were lost," Murphy said.
Runner Joel Hillygus used to live in Boston, and his office was near where the bombs exploded at the marathon finish line.
"It's surreal," Hillygus said, adding that he has concerns about running in Chapel Hill. "If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere."