(Shelby County, TN) When it comes to safety, long-time race director Wyndell Robertson says Mid-South runners have nothing to fear.
It comes after the deadly bombings in Boston, and as the Memphis area gets ready for a weekend including a couple of its biggest races of the year.
”This weekend, with Youth Villages and the Great Prostate ½ marathon, they’re moving through neighborhoods rather than a downtown area so it someone comes down the street we’re gonna know it, and neighbors will know what’s going on in their backyards.”
Most races in this area take place in suburban neighborhoods or parks, where intruders are more easily spotted and where they can do less damage.
Even the St. Jude Marathon, which runs through downtown, has plenty of security, and none of the bleachers or other barriers that contributed to injury in Boston.
Thousands register for this weekend’s Youth Villages 5 and 10k runs.
Kimberly Speros Rossie of Youth Villages said, “The safety and well being of our runners is always our greatest concern. In light of the tragic events in Boston yesterday, we have increased our security efforts for this weekend’s race.”
Police everywhere are studying the Boston tragedy for lessons learned.
”Anytime something like that happens, one of the first things we want to do is, start asking ourselves, number one, what if that happened in Southaven and then, number two, is what can we do to prevent that in Southaven?" asked Southaven Deputy Police Chief Steve Pirtle.
It’s especially important, since Southaven will soon hold its annual Springfest celebration, that brings thousands to Snowden Grove park.
Robertson says to expect a little more security from now on, ”I’m sure the Police Department will have a plan for us this weekend as well as Youth Villages.”
Everyone vows it won’t affect the fun experience for runners or spectators.