My heart goes out to all those affected by the tornadoes. I can’t even imagine the depth of your suffering.
Yesterday I talked about the silliness of the costumes at the race, but today I wanted to mention the darker aspects of race day.
After 9/11 I went with two friends to a taping of a cooking show in New York City. It just so happened that we were there for the very first taping since the terror attacks. While now we would consider walking through a metal detector and providing photo I.D. to be “normal”, at the time, the enhanced security was more than a little anxiety-inducing. To be honest, I spent more time watching the guys with guns patrolling the audience borders than I did watching the chef do his thing. The security force unnerved me more than any imagined threat.
I was reminded of that feeling this past weekend at the half-marathon relay.
I’ve completed three half marathons, two half-marathon relays, and a boatload of 5ks and I’ve never seen so many ambulances. They were everywhere and quite frankly it was disturbing to see them at every major intersection. Because while there are usually a few scattered through a course, they’re normally there to provide assistance to runners with scraped knees or pulled muscles. These ambulances weren’t there for that. They were there in case there was a terrorist attack.
There was also a heavier uniformed police presence including a mobile “skybox” type thing that hovered 30 or 40 feet above the crowd (something I’ve never seen before and I’ve started at least 10 races at that very site).
The specter of the Boston Marathon bombings hung heavy over the race. Some were unaware of the enhanced security, some chose to ignore it, and others race jitters were amplified by it.
This time next year, this may be the new “normal” but this weekend I was a bit freaked out by all the extra ambulances.