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Despite Boston Bombing, Local Runners Will Follow Their Dreams; One Foot In Front Of The Other

Stacey Bowling and Julia Edwards at the Run For Robyn in Kimberling City. Credit-Ozark Mountian Ridge Runners

You don’t have to venture far in the Ozarks to see someone out running, either for health or for simple pleasure. According to one local participant, running culture is alive and well in the Ozarks. KSMU’s Shane Franklin spoke with a couple local runners about the recent bombing in Boston and its effects on running culture here at home.

Ten members of the Ozark Mountain Ridge Runners took part in Monday’s marathon, according to Chris Revoir, the running club organization’s president. He says his runners are physically safe, but shaken up.

Most of the runners from Springfield qualified to enter the Boston Marathon by running in the Bass Pro Marathon. Melissa Bondy is the race director for the event. She says security at the yearly marathon is pretty much the same as other marathons around the country.

“We have police that are usually with us in the beginning, we have police out on the course. We have medical personnel at all the aid stations along the course. We have police officers at the finish line. This year we will have an officer leading the runners and an officer tailing the runners,” says Bondy.

Safety comes first for all the runners in the Bass Pro Marathon, Bondy says, but it’s nearly impossible to provide safety assurance for both lanes of the over 26 mile run in any marathon. 

“What happened in Boston is going to change the way race directors around the country look at how we do our events. And if you’ve ever been a part of a big event like in Chicago or New York City, you kind of get a good feeling for how difficult it is, with the number of people both on the course and how many people are cheering the runners on the course, it’s just extremely difficult to be prepared for every possible outcome,” says Bondy.

That won’t keep Bondy and others that plan these events from working to be as prepared as possible though. 

“Realistically when a situation like this occurs, me as race director, I move more into a background position, and the police department and even the fire department, they move into the leadership role,” Says Bondy.

She says Springfield Police are a pleasure to work with, and she’s confident they would react appropriately if an event like this were to occur in Springfield.

This will change the running industry as a whole though, explains Bondy.

“I think that the one thing you won’t see changed is that people are not going to give up following this kind of dream. I think what people who don’t run these events maybe don’t understand are that these people are following goals and dreams. These people every day they get up and put one foot in front of the other and whether you’re trying to qualify for Boston or you’re running because you enjoy running, or you’re running because every day you thank God that you have ability to run. I don’t think that it is going to stop people, and I pray that it doesn’t stop people from following their dreams and continuing to run,” says Bondy.

Bondy says this year organizers will be relying on runners and volunteers alike to be aware of their surroundings to help ensure the continued safety of participants and spectators.

For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.