In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, registration has filled up for the annual Capital City half marathon in Columbus Saturday.
A bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon resulted in three deaths and more than 170 injuries on April 15.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old man who had been identified by the FBI as a suspect, was killed April 18 after an encounter with police, according to multiple reports. His brother, Dzhozkar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old college student identified as the second suspect, escaped, but was found and arrested by authorities the following day. He was taken to a hospital in serious condition but has since been declared stable.
Capital City half marathon race director David Babner said the registration numbers jumped after the bombing.
“Our registration numbers actually increased (that) week, especially from what we’ve seen on a year-to-year basis,” Babner said.
Babner said the running community, both on a local and regional level, has shown support for those affected by the events in Boston. He added that some had questioned their readiness to take on the 13.1 mile race before April 15, but had since registered to participate.
“There has been an amazing show of resilience within the running and walking community,” said Babner. “I think the events in Boston didn’t deter registration, they in fact encouraged it. People that were thinking about running but weren’t really sure because of the training season we had over the winter, said, ‘You’re not going to stop me from doing this, I’m coming out’.”
He also said there has been a large showing of support for the event through social media.
“What I found interesting is that on our Facebook page, we had people post things like, ‘Hey, I’m injured and I may not be able to run this year, but you can be sure I’m coming out to cheer everybody on,’” Babner said.
Carmen Bizzarri, a third-year in biology, said the race will be her first 13.1 mile race.
“I think that registration for running events has increased out of respect for those who could not complete the marathon and for those whose accomplishments were tainted by such a tragic event,” said Bizzarri. “If you think about it, people that run are generally known to have strong perseverance and the unity and resilience shown by the running community after the attack at Boston surprises me very little.”
Race officials have met with authorities to increase security for the event, Babner said. Beyond basic security plans implemented in previous years, participants will have backpacks screened and searched, and all volunteers will receive credentials for the first time in the event’s history.
“I’ve been in a number of meetings starting last Tuesday, with the city of Columbus safety officials, the division of fire, police and homeland security,” said Babner. “In those meetings there have been a number of security plans they’ve laid out. We as a race team have collaborated with them. Obviously, what happened in Boston has added a whole other level to what we do security-wise.”
Megan Dunlap, a third-year in human nutrition who is also registered to run the half marathon, said while the bombings had made her slightly apprehensive about participating, the additional event security helped reassure her.
“The events in Boston did not change my mind about running the Cap City marathon,” said Dunlap. “After hearing what happened in Boston I definitely got more nervous about running in the event. However, I’m assuming security will be tighter for events like the Boston Marathon and other sporting events in general.”