GREEN BAY - "I've always felt that, scar tissue is stronger than the original skin," explained Boston Marathon and Bellin Run race director Dave McGillivray.
The man who directs both the Boston Marathon and the Bellin Run reflects on the bombings in Massachusetts the day before the record-breaking race in our area.
Even though the tragedy in Boston shook the entire country, race officials say it did not shake the commitment of runners.
And that can be seen in the record number of participants for the 37th annual Bellin Run. Runners can also expect to see some security changes.
The latest numbers indicate registration is at more than 19,000 runners. That beats the previous mark set two years ago.
Race officials say that just shows the resilience of the racing community.
"I always feel good pushes the bad, right over the cliff and that's what we're experiencing now," McGillivray said.
McGillivray is a race director for the Bellin. And for 26 years, he's been the race director for the Boston Marathon.
He says the bombings will never be something you'll forget, but it will be something that makes you stronger.
"In my opinion, this will only strengthen our sport," McGillivray said.
Fighting back tears at times, McGillivray says Boston is recovering and so is the nation.
"We will not be denied our running freedom, and races since Boston have seen incredible growth," McGillivray explained. "Instead of people being afraid and running away, they're doing just the opposite which is really exciting to see."
In the Green Bay area, crews spent Friday gearing up for the record-breaking Bellin Run. But in addition to the numbers, runners in Saturday's race will also see changes to security.
"You know our goal is to have a community event that is safe and enjoyable for everyone," explained Randy Van Straten, Bellin executive race director. "People really need to feel safe. The Bellin Run has taken steps to accomplish that goal."
Race officials say they'll have enhanced video surveillance along the course. Participants will also see increased law enforcement.
And there will be GPS tracking with emergency and medical personal.
Organizers have also asked participants to pack light this year.
"Definitely hold off on large bags and don't leave them unattended so that is, follow that airport mentality," Van Straten said.
All in all, race officials anticipate the event will be a success. And to keep the Boston Strong mentality, they've adopted One Fund Boston as one of the race's official charity partners.
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