FARGO (AP) - Organizers of the Fargo Marathon will do everything necessary to protect runners at the race next month in the wake of the blasts at the Boston Marathon, the director of the race in North Dakota's largest city said.
The explosions at the finish line in Boston on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 140 others. Fargo Marathon director Mark Knutson told The Forum newspaper that the chilling attacks made him very sad.
"I've already been asked if we are going to increase security," Knutson said of the May 18 Fargo Marathon, which is expected to attract more than 20,000 runners. "We'll take whatever steps necessary but something like this, it's pretty much impossible to prevent."
Knutson said he recently visited with Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray and "my heart goes out to him."
Many residents of the Dakotas who took part in the race on Monday said they were horrified by what happened and felt lucky to be safe.
Holly Kopplin, of Piedmont, S.D., told the Argus Leader and Rapid City Journal that she, her husband and a friend were two blocks away at the time of the blasts.
"I saw the stopped clock at the finish line (later) on TV and I realized I came nine minutes from being hurt myself," she said, adding that she felt "very blessed" to be OK.
Rick Hanson, of Sioux Falls, told the Argus Leader that he was less than a block away from the finish line when the first bomb exploded.
"The concussion from the blast was like a slap in the face," he said.
Maria Weller, of Fargo, told The Forum that she was two blocks away when the first bomb went off.
"I think people are rather horrified that this very American tradition has now suffered this tragedy," she said.
Julie Jeske, of Bismarck, told The Associated Press that she is now questioning her plan to run the New York City Marathon later this year, but other runners from the Dakotas said they would not hesitate to race again.
"Nobody's scared. They're just mad," Rapid City runner David Mallams told the Journal.