NYC Marathon runners press on following terror attack

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By Alison Fox and Ivan Pereira

More than 50,000 runners will kick off their 26.2-mile journey through the five boroughs Sunday morning in an act of defiance and a show of strength and unity.

Security for the 47th annual TCS New York City Marathon — being held just days after the deadly Manhattan terror attack — will be increased beyond the already high levels typical for these types of events, officials said. More than 2.5 million spectators are expected along the route.

NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez said the department will add more sand trucks and block vehicles along the 26.2-mile course, as well as deploy additional counter sniper teams, heavy weapons teams, aviation units scanning rooftops, and plainclothes officers mixed in with the cheering crowds.

On Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, allegedly drove a rented Home Depot truck down a bike path in TriBeCa, killing eight people and injuring 12. Saipov was arraigned on federal charges Wednesday, including one count of providing material support to ISIS. He was held without bail.

“I think everyone is worried, but at the same time we have been training for months, we’re not going to let that stop us,” said Upper East Side resident Michelle Park, 25, who will be running in her first marathon Sunday. “Everyone sees the marathon as a way of the city coming together. People really want to see the race and cheer on people.”

Chris Weiller, spokesman for the New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, said the group works closely with the NYPD and federal law enforcement.

“We’re always looking to see what enhancements we can make to make the race more safe and secure,” he said. “I think it’s also safe to say there’s a lot you’re going to see out there and a lot you’re not going to see out there.”

In 2013, the NYRR updated security near the finish line, including screening credentials and access following the Boston Marathon bombing months earlier. That attack killed three people and injured more than 200.

But Weiller said following Tuesday’s attack, the decision was made to keep moving forward with the race.

“New York is a resilient city, New Yorkers are resilient,” he said. “It’s a lifetime type of experience, it showcases New York in a way that no other event does.”

Elmhurst resident Ravi Aditan, 56, who is running in his fourth NYC Marathon, said New Yorkers get up and keep going.

“We’ve been through this before, especially after the Boston bombing,” he said. “We’re athletes, we believe that there is nothing that can scare us.”

Jonas Berends, 50, from Brussels, is ready to run his first NYC Marathon. His two teen daughters traveled with him to cheer him on.

Berends said he lost a friend to terror in an attack in Belgium. One of the victims of Tuesday’s attack, Anne Laure Decadt, 31, was from Belgium.

“I’m confident that security will be tight,” he said. “You need to show strength. You really can’t predict what will happen, you just need to do what you’re going to do.”

This entry was posted on Friday, November 3rd, 2017 at 12:12 pm and is filed under amNewYork, Breaking News, Print Articles, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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