GREEN BAY - Race and public safety officials here in Wisconsin say they believe the Boston explosions will have a lasting impact. But just what might that impact be, especially as race season in the state is starting up?
Sitting in Midwest Sports Event's inconspicuous office building in De Pere, dozens of medals are hanging and ready, awaiting their future owners.
On Sunday, between 2,000 and 2,500 runners will compete in the 9th Annual Oshkosh Half Marathon, 5K Run-Walk Kid's Run. Though small – compared to races like Green Bay's Bellin Run 10K or Cellcom Marathon which attract upwards of tens of thousands of runners and spectators – Oshkosh Half race organizers say the events in Boston have prompted them to revisit security plans with authorities.
"We have had our planning meetings already, but I'm calling just to have another planning meeting because, we need to discuss this new issue. It's a new issue that all race directors have to look at," said Gloria West, MSE's executive director.
West tells FOX 11 a meeting with authorities in Oshkosh is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
"I'm sure we will definitely take a look at our plan. Will it change? Too soon to tell, but we will definitely take a look at it and I think the entire industry will take a look at their plans," said Randy Van Straten, executive director of the Bellin Run 10K.
Van Straten says when nearly 20,000 people are at an event like the Bellin, it's important to have the emergency plans in place; adding that a disaster unit is on site at the Bellin's finish line.
"You hope you never have to use it, but you always want to be prepared for something that can happen either naturally or unfortunately, man-made," said Van Straten.
Van Straten says he expects changes for his race will happen as a result of the Boston bombings.
"I look back when we really took a hard look at our safety plan and that was after 9/11 and we've been working and evolving it since that time," said Van Straten. "But having (Boston Marathon Race Director) Dave McGillivray there at Boston and coming to Bellin, I'm sure we will definitely take a look at our plan. Will it change? Too soon to tell, but we will definitely take a look at it and I think the entire industry will take a look at their plans."
McGillivray has been a part of the Bellin Run since 2008, when he and his company were brought in to help with handling the increased development and growth of the race.
A regularly scheduled safety meeting with local fire, police, EMTs and public works departments for the Bellin race is scheduled for tomorrow. The group will address the Boston bombings and discuss potential adjustments for annual run/walk.
Boston was also topic of conversation at a regularly scheduled meeting in Madison, discussing jurisdictional cooperation and safety for the upcoming April 27 Crazylegs Classic 8K.
"It really does kind of change perspectives and makes us look at our event to make sure we're doing everything to keep people safe," said UW Madison Police Sgt. Aaron Chapin.
The annual race in Madison brings in about 19,000 people and Chapin says changes, like extra staffing, will be made for the race.
"We have to make sure that, again, that we're not putting too much of a hardship on people who are coming to enjoy the event, while making sure that it is safe as well," said Chapin.
The Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department, which plays a role in security at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, says no doubt there will be changes, but it's too early to tell what those changes might be.
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