Organizers expect the Frederick Running Festival to go on as planned in the wake of Monday's bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon that killed at least three people and injured nearly 180.
“I'd be surprised if people were reluctant to come out,” Mark Lawrence, a board member of the Frederick Steeplechasers running club, said Tuesday.
The 11th annual local festival is scheduled May 4 and 5 at the Frederick Fairgrounds. It will include a half-marathon, team relay and children's race.
Organizers expect about 6,200 runners, roughly the same number as last year.
“Our registration numbers are on par with what they have been in the past,” race director Rachel Ridgway said. “I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of increase based on runner solidarity.”
Organizers will work with police and other emergency responders to review race safety, said Dave Gell, of Corrigan Sports Enterprises.
Corrigan, which manages the festival, will meet with emergency personnel within 10 days to go over safety strategies, Gell said.
“We always work closely with the law enforcement agencies,” Ridgway said. “That has been and always will be in place.”
The only notable change to safety policy so far is that runners will need to put their items in clear plastic bags to check their gear this year.
That move was one organizers had considered in the past, Ridgway said, but never enacted.
It will become part of the event's safety procedures in response to the bombings in Boston.
The Frederick Police Department has been in contact with federal authorities to stay ahead of any threats or safety concerns, Capt. Patrick Grossman said.
No threats have been made regarding the festival, he said.
The finish line at the Frederick Fairgrounds is an enclosed, easily monitored area, Grossman said.
“We're going to have very adequate coverage,” he said.
Emergency response teams have contingency plans for many possible dangerous situations, Grossman said, and would be prepared to assist in the event of injuries.
He declined to say specifically whether a response plan for an explosion has been made.
Lawrence is in charge of course marshals at the race. Security has not been a major concern for the marshals in past years, he said. Marshals have generally focused on keeping runners safe, while the police focused on spectators' safety.
The marshals might consider a procedure to report suspicious activity this year, he said, but they have not yet met to discuss it.
Lawrence did not think the Boston attack would discourage runners from participating.
"Runners ... are typically people of strong willpower," he said, “I think people will come out and participate and not let fear get the best of them."