Tuesday, April 16, 2013
SAN DIEGO - Plans were underway today to beef up security at San Diego's famed Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and Marathon in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon explosions that killed at least three people and injured more than 140.
"We'll certainly elevate our procedures and policies to take greater caution given the tragic events (at Boston),'' Competitor Group CEO Scott Dickey told U-T San Diego. The Competitor Group puts on San Diego's annual Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and Marathon, which this year is scheduled to take place on June 2.
Last year's half marathon was the sixth largest in the United States, with 17,604 finishers, and the marathon was the 10 largest in the country, with 7,106 finishers, according to U-T San Diego.
Dickey said it was too early to say just what sort of precautions will be taken this year.
On Monday, two fiery blasts went off within seconds of each other near the finish line of this year's Boston Marathon, knocking runners and spectators off their feet. More than 120 San Diegans were among the 23,000 runners who took part in the marathon.
Jim McNevin, a coach with PR Marathon Training in San Diego, had finished the race well before the explosion and was resting two blocks away when the explosion happened.
“Everybody’s in shock, you know I’ve done the Boston Marathon 9 years in a row now and at the end of the race we all get together and it’s a celebration," he said. "No one’s celebrating. It’s awful.”
Another local runner was New Poway Unified School District Trustee Kimberley Beatty. She ran the race for the fourth time with her husband and crossed the finish line about 10 minutes before the blasts.
Her husband, Ned Beatty, said he finished the race about 15 minutes earlier than Kimberley. He had picked up his own gear and was walking toward the women's gear station to wait for his wife when he heard the first of two bombs explode near the finish line.
"I saw the white smoke coming from across the course," Beatty said. "I was very concerned at first because I didn't know where she was. So I was working my way through the crowd to find her. And what a sense of relief when I finally did."
It was not immediately clear whether anyone with San Diego ties was among the dead or injured.
Because of the blasts, law enforcement officials in the San Diego area went on heightened alert, though there were no known specific threats to the region.
"We're working very closely with our local and federal law enforcement counterparts,'' said Jan Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. "These appear to be tragic, isolated events in Boston. We have no indication there is any (local) threat ... . If that changes, we will immediately let the community know.''
Likewise, the San Diego Police Department's personnel were being extra vigilant due to the bombings, SDPD public information officer Gary Hassen said.
He declined to disclose whether the department had increased or shifted patrols, or instituted any other out-of-the-ordinary measures.
"We do not discuss security (publicly),'' he said.
Unlike at airports in Los Angeles and Orange counties, administrators at Lindbergh Field made no immediate changes since the Transportation Security Administration had not directed them to do so, according to airport spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield.