Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Discussion with the Bomb Squad

Each year I get excited when the PF Changs Rock and Roll marathon and half takes to the streets in January. Even thought I haven't run the half in a couple years, I shop enthusiastically at the expo and gaze at the tourists wondering if they are running the race. Last year I rode in the press truck and watched Josh Cox set the American record in the 50K. This year, not having any VIP plans, I volunteered for the start of the marathon.

Arriving at 5am for a marathon start seemed early and for a bit there was nothing to do.  Around 5:30am, after putting small water bottles out on tables, I was given the Warm Zone for my assignment.  Runners prepaid $45 for a warm room, food, water/juice, free parking and coveted indoor toilets. It was my job to check everyone's wrist bracelet before letting runners in. And yes, there were many people who wanted in without the bracelet and I got a handful of dirty looks.

A few runners milled around the Warm Zone when it opened at 6am.  Out of place though were 4 men in khaki pants, matching shoes, black shirts and guns standing around laughing. Not being shy and wondering what they were doing I approached them.  Their humor was dark while they joked they were there to motivated people but had to motivate each other first. 
"Really, what are you doing," I asked.
"We're the bomb squad"
I think my jaw dropped some and I looked into the sky, saw the city sky scrapers and it made sense.  Thousands of people show up in one location would be a target for some evil person.  They told me that all majors marathons have the bomb squad come in and secure the area.  I never would have guessed.

Next time you run a major race, take comfort in the fact that a portion of your race fees include handsome men with their bomb sniffing dogs scouring the area so you have a safe race.  

Happy Running!


Kerrie T. said...

Wow. I had no idea!

Robin said...

Interesting, I had no idea. www.dashingdiva.net

lindsay said...

Kinda cool. Sad that we have to take this defensive measure, but I've never thought of a race entry to be a "waste". Though, I'm sure some races don't spend it as well as they could on their organizing.

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Makes sense... I remember being surprised when I found everything they have to do at Disney World because it is so high on the list of targets like it is a no fly zone etc.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a crazy world!

Oh, and try to watch Forks Over Knives! Very good. I went vegan after watching it...not just for health, but for the planet. Who knew I'd turn hippie? ;) I do eat slightly more fat from plant based/whole foods, than the doc's recommend, but oh well, it's a start!

Natalia said...

Hello Christina, Happy New Year. I remember your coverage of the event last year, and the cool pics. None at all this year?