Thursday, December 12, 2013
CAPE ELIZABETH - Joan Benoit Samuelson joined other members of the Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race's organizing committee Monday as the group considered security in its first planning meeting of the year.
Three weeks earlier, Samuelson had achieved her goal of finishing the Boston Marathon in a time within 30 minutes of the world record she had set in Boston 30 years earlier. That story, and many others, sank into the background after two explosions near the finish line killed three spectators and severely wounded scores of spectators and runners.
"I have run a lot of races around the world," Samuelson said, "and it has crossed my mind before that terrorism is a possibility, or at any sporting event for that matter. It's very upsetting that it had to happen in Boston."
Joining Samuelson in Cape Elizabeth were 59 other members of the organizing committee of the road race she founded. Monday's was the first of the group's four annual meetings, and race President David Weatherbie and race Director Dave McGillivray -- who also directs the Boston Marathon -- talked beforehand about how the tragedy in Boston may change security at Beach to Beacon, scheduled Aug. 3.
Weatherbie said McGillivray's organizing team will review "our current robust security program" in conjunction with the town's police and fire chiefs.
"If there are areas for upgrades, improvements, things that are rational, feasible and make sense," Weatherbie said, "then we'll take a look at doing those things. It will be a combined effort of that group."
McGillivray would not discuss specific security issues because to do so, he said, could create more risk.
"Obviously, the events of April 15 will leave an indelible mark on all of us," he said. "We just have to be more aware and more vigilant about how we conduct the event from this point forward."
On Saturday, McGillivray's race-management team put on the Run to Home Base, a nine-kilometer run/walk that ends inside Fenway Park and benefits the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. Doing so proved cathartic.
He said, "After two weeks-plus of everything that has gone on, it was good to get back into our race-management mode and produce another quality event without incident."
Samuelson ran in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington, D.C., last weekend and attended the Safe Passage 5K in Cumberland on Sunday. During an organized run last week around Back Cove in Portland, she said, she saw large numbers of new runners and walkers.
"People understand that our sport is strong," she said, "and it's a community that goes far beyond start lines and finish lines."
She said that limiting the number of runners for the Beach to Beacon "bothers me terribly" but it is done "because we care about the safety of each and every runner.
"As Dave said, we can't bring lost lives back and we can't bring lost limbs back," she said, "but the inspiration that has started to flow from the survivors, and their positive remarks, and their desire to get out and run inspires all of us."
The incident in Boston, she said, will only strengthen the sport.
"We can pay tribute and we can honor the fallen," she said, "but we're going to move on because we'll carry so many lives as we move on."
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: