Marathon tragedy ‘eye-opening’ for Alabama marathon organizer


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Local runners and Boston residents are coming to grips with what happened and what could have happened. Marathon organizers are reviewing their security procedures in light of the devastation.

BOSTON, Mass. (WIAT) –  Marathon Monday- Patriots’ Day- it’s a holiday in Boston. This year it’s marked by tragedy. The timing only adds to the disbelief among Boston citizens like lifelong resident Ed Donnelly. He was on the subway, the “T”, near the finish line- when the explosions happened.

“I think surreal is the word. I think people were having a hard time having it sink in because, Marathon Monday- it’s a big holiday in Massachusetts. It’s always like the start of spring. It’s usually pretty nice; people are really excited to be outside. And to have this happen…you could tell people- when we got off of the subway; people were kind of just stunned, standing there. A lot of people were on their phones trying to call and some calls weren’t going through,” said Donnelly.  “So people are kind of stunned and a little bit shocked because it’s such a fun day and you know obviously nothing like this has ever happened.”

Closer to home runners from the Birmingham area are frantically trying to track down their friends and family members in Massachusetts for the race.  Spring Garden basketball coach Ricky Austin says he didn’t know what had happened until his wife’s mother called to check on them. It was only when they got to their hotel and saw the news coverage that he really grasped what had happened.

“Just prior to me finishing, my wife was… she was sitting in the bleachers directly across the street from where the bomb went off,” said Austin.

The organizer of the Mercedes Marathon that brings big crowds of runners to Birmingham each February says it was an eye opening day and her worst nightmare.

“It’s always been in the back of our minds that you know we’re a small event compared to a Boston. But you know we’d be like a soft target for a… for something. And so we always have a plan on how to evacuate quickly or how to do something quickly. But it is going to be I’d have to say we’d probably gotten a little slack on some things over the past couple of years and it’s kind of a wakeup call for all of us I think to really be aware of our surroundings and what’s going on,” said McLean. “It hits very close to home. It makes us wonder, you know with our emergency plan, you know, what would we do in this type of situation? And I’ve already been in contact with lots of our staff and ER people and talking about things that we’re going to have to look into changing for next year just to take more precaution for things like this.”

The city of Boston is reportedly saturated with security cameras, and the city has something called BRIC, or Boston Regional Intelligence Center, which may help provide clues as to what happened and who is responsible for Monday’s tragic events.

Copyright  2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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