Tag Archives: New York Road Runners

Record numbers, heightened security at NYC Marathon


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of New York Road Runners

The safest place in the country may have been the route of the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday.

NYPD officers trolled the race, guarding runners and spectators alike, because of terrorism concerns caused by the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year, in which three people died and hundreds were injured.

A record 50,740 runners from around the world competed in this year’s ING Marathon, which was cancelled last year due to tremendous damage by Superstorm Sandy.

“My point of view is you can’t live like that,” said Joseph Gordon, a Queens Village resident who ran the marathon for the first time. “Living in New York it’s dangerous just to step outside my house. The NYRR [New York Road Runners] did a good job being careful and improving security.”

The marathon, which travels 26.2 miles around the five boroughs, featured more police officers along the course than previous years, some with bomb-sniffing dogs. Officers also checked spectators’ bags at certain locations, among various other reported counter-terrorism tactics.

As a result the race proceeded safely and featured fierce competition, dominated by Kenyan runners.

In the men’s race, Geoffrey Mutai defended his NYC Marathon 2011 crown with another win. He finished with an official time of 2:08:24. Priscah Jeptoo won the women’s division with a time of 2:25:07.

Gordon said the return of the race brings the city a little bit closer to normalcy.

“I think it’s really important to New York, the fact that it’s in all the boroughs and a lot of people were affected [by Sandy],” he said. “It’s not something that New York needs, but that the people of New York needed. It’s like a morale booster.”

 

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Boston Marathon bombing has races rethinking security


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Now that surviving Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev has been captured and charged with using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, some of the motivations behind the attack are becoming clearer.

Other questions about security and how to prevent future attacks at similar events are under heated debate.

“Thinking about the football season starting or baseball, I don’t think [security is] going to change dramatically,” said David Kearn, an assistant professor in government and politics at St. John’s University.

Sporting venues such as Citi Field and the National Tennis Center are contained locations, he added.

“If you have to go through doors, you can have metal detectors, you can have people doing pat downs, you can have different types of devices to make sure that people aren’t bringing in things that you don’t want them bringing in,” Kearn said.

But he added that an event like the Boston Marathon has large areas that are “virtually unprotected.”

Security measure that Kearn said officials could use in areas where people congregate include mandatory check points.

The JFK 5k Runway Run, an annual race at John F. Kennedy International Airport, already uses similar security measures.

Runners and spectators must pass through security in accordance with the airport’s standards, said Rudy Auslander of the JFK Rotary Club, the event’s sponsor.

He said while they do not have to remove their shoes, all entrants are screened. Buses take runners out to the runway, and spectators are kept in an area near the line where the race both starts and finishes.

Other races in the city are designed differently, with spectators throughout the route, making similar security measures difficult.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR), who organize races including the ING NYC Marathon throughout the year, implemented enhanced baggage security following the Boston attack.

Runners who want to check their bags at one of the races must place them in a clear plastic bag and leave them in a designated zone that participants cannot enter. NYRR also has the right to search any bag in or outside the baggage area at any time, and an unattended bag can be confiscated.

“The safety and security of all New York Road Runners’ races is and will always be our top priority,” the group said in a statement. “A number of significant measures have been put in place in recent years, and we will work closely with the NYPD over the coming days and weeks to further evaluate security at races. We will continue to work hand in hand with the City of New York and the NYPD as we plan for all upcoming events.”

Kearn said these security measures would “draw more resources and more man power. You might be able to have volunteers do some of that stuff in terms of just checking bags, but you will have to have more folks checking and looking around in the future.”

 

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New York Road Runners Youth Jamboree held


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the New York Road Runners The team at P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway received hand-knitted running caps

The leaves are falling, but the kids are still running.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR) Youth Jamboree kicked into high gear at the Armory in Washington Heights on October 23 – and family fun was had by all as kids participated in a variety of track and field events including relays, runs, long jump and shot put.
Each year the friendly competition attracts sporty sorts from across the city, and this year they were joined by an icon in the world of adolescent fitness. For the first time ever, Sportacus from the television show “Lazytown” joined the NYRR team at the Jamboree to motivate and energize the kids with warm-up sessions throughout the day.
After the event was over and the awards were passed out, Sportacus paid a visit to P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway to congratulate some of the athletes on their amazing accomplishments.

Among the winners at P.S. 197 were Nylique Knight, 11, who won 1st place in the 55 meter and 200 meter; Lida Murrel, 9, 1st place winner in the 200 meter; Ny’hemia Steadman, 9, 1st place winner in the 55 meter; and Nashawn Wilson, 10, 1st place winner in the 55 and 200 meter.
The entire team of runners from P.S. 197 received donated wool, hand-knit running hats from Heather Bergstein, Mary Lou Risley and a group of volunteers. The school’s physical education teacher, Richard Reiss, received one with “Coach!” stitched across the front.
“The NYRR running programs give kids an opportunity to discover a lot about themselves,” said Reiss, who is in his 5th successful year with the Mighty Milers program. “It helps to build their self-esteem; they learn to eat healthy and stay in shape; and it exposes them to new things in life that they would not have access to. I am very fortunate to have found this program for my students.”

Those interested in NYRR’s many youth programs should visit www.nyrrf.org or call them at 212-860-4455.