Marathon Safety

On April 15, the world watched as two explosions rocked the Boston marathon killing three people and injuring over 200 others.

Runners from Naperville were caught in the chaos and as people asked how this could have happened the organizers for Naperville’s inaugural marathon were working to make the marathon here at home safer.

Less than ten minutes after Kim Scott finished her 11th marathon she was stunned by what she heard as she was picking up her medal.

“We heard these big cannons going off and these girls were like ‘It’s a bomb! It’s a bomb,’ and we’re all like ‘Yeah, really,’” said Scott. “And then when you look down the street and you see the smoke coming off the high rise and all the people running down the street, it was like something off a movie set.”

James Ostrenga is a cardiologist at Edward Hospital. He was less than a mile from the finish line when he was told he couldn’t finish the race.

“Suddenly the runners in front of me had stopped and I stopped too and there was a policeman there and he had pulled up and stopped all the runners on the race course and he wasn’t telling us anything but we couldn’t continue down the race court,” said Ostrenga.

As the country was dealing with the tragedy, organizers for the Naperville Marathon were planning extra precautions.

“We have put a number of things in place for the NCC campus as well as the entire route. We’re adding an increased police presence, we’re adding increased signage that articulates we have increased presence,” said Sgt. Steve Schindlebeck. “And encouraging people if you see something say something to a public safety official. If you can’t find one call 911.”

About 3,500 people were registered to run Naperville’s marathon in November, add to that spectators and a route that closes down traffic throughout the city and police officers had their work cut out for them. They ran through different scenarios before the event took place.

“We will simply put together a scenario that could very well involve mass causalities and then we will take turns articulating if this happens what we will do. From the police side of things there’s a network that I would have to activate that would get me police from 30-40 miles away if I needed them,” said Sgt. Schindlebeck. “The fire department would get more ambulances, Edward would have to have a plan in place and tell us how many people they could take and if they find themselves overloaded what other hospitals could we take them to. We have to get the FBI involved.”

The Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon went off without major problems and the police force will continuing planning and reworking their security plan for next year.

Next year organizers are hoping to double the amount of runners.


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