Peachtree Road Race organizers talk security - New York News

Peachtree Road Race organizers talk security

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ATLANTA -

Organizers of the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta have already begun talking about better ways to secure the race after the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

When Emory University track coach John Curtin heard about the explosion in Boston, he immediately picked up his cell phone.

"I wanted to call the people that I knew were there and would be near the start-finish line," Curtin said.

Members of the Atlanta Track Club, who plan the Peachtree Road Race, were at the finish line in Boston. Fortunately, Curtin says they left before disaster hit.

"They were already at the airport, heading back to Atlanta when the two explosions took place. The elite athletes had already cleared the finish area," said Curtin.

Curtin is one of many who helps plan the Peachtree Road Race, which takes place on July 4. He brings in the elite runners.  Monday's destruction immediately made him think about security.

"I think it's huge and a tragedy like this just points out how important it is. How do you secure 26 miles, 385 yards of a running course," Curtin said. "I know the folks at Peachtree will really take a close look at this and understand that on the Fourth of July, a big American holiday with 60,000 people plus all the spectators – it is a target."

Atlanta Track Club Executive Director Tracey Russell spearheads the security effort for the Peachtree Road Race. She was in Boston for the marathon. She was on the way to the airport for the flight back home when the explosions took place.

Russell said that Atlanta organizers are working with city officials to ensure safety at this year's race.

Atlanta Track Club associate Brian Powell, who was also returning from Boston, said people should not give up in light up Monday's bombing.

"We got to truck on and keep going," Powell said.

Gayle Baron, Atlanta's only winner of the Boston Marathon , said she was sad by what happened.

"It makes me sick to think that we are walking on pins and needles. Unbelievable. I mean, the crowds, I can tell you, having one the Boston Marathon, if somebody were to say, ‘what is the best experience in your life?' And I would say winning the Boston Marathon," said Baron, who won in 1978.

According to Twitter posts, Atlanta runners will gather at 800 Peachtree Street at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday for a short vigil and a short jog.

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