November 3, 2013: the long awaited return of the New York Marathon after its one-year hiatus due to Hurricane Sandy. Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai returned to defend his title, and did so successfully with the impressive time of 2:8:24. Fans crowded the sidelines of the 26.2-mile course, undeterred by fears of another vicious storm or even worse, a terrorist attack like the one in April that tore Boston apart.
Part of the reason that both runners and fans could support the race without fear of more violence was the increased security implemented in New York on race day. In the wake of the Boston bombings, the NYPD left no holds barred in preparation for the race.
All 45,000 runners were screened and had their bags checked at the start of the race, and 1,500 TV-quality surveillance cameras were placed along the course in order to make it nearly impossible for anyone to move around undetected. Most of these cameras were concentrated on the finish line.
In addition, helicopters, harbor units, scuba divers and police officers both in uniform and everyday dress were present around and throughout the race. To specifically prevent bombings, 49 police dogs patrolled the grounds, including some specially trained canines that can detect explosives. This heightened security no doubt made any potential terrorists think twice about attacking the marathon, and gave both the runners and spectators the peace of mind to enjoy the event.
As a special tribute to Boston, a yellow line was painted along the last 400 meters of the race next to the blue line that guides runners for the entire length of the marathon. This was called a “line of inspiration” by New York Road Runner CEO Mary Whittenberg, who stated that it would be “a line to the future and a line that represents our unity with Boston.” The yellow and blue also represent the colors of the Boston Athletic Association.
It is clear that no one has forgotten the tragic events of April 15, and that the entire New York community has rallied not only to prevent that sort of tragedy from happening within their own borders, but to also honor the innocent victims in Boston.
Boston itself has recovered since the attacks, most recently paying homage during the Red Sox parade on Sunday. The parade stopped in front of the bombing site near the finish line where outfielder Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy and a Red Sox Jersey on the ground. The crowd broke out in a passionate rendition of “God Bless America,” proving to everyone that Boston is just as strong as ever.
The greatest comfort to Boston citizens who were hurt by the tragedy of this past April can come in the knowledge that only good has come out of the suffering. New York’s increased security and visual tribute prove that they are taking measures to prevent any sort of tragedy again while still making sure that the victims of violence are not forgotten. We the people of Boston will never forget the day that our city was brought to its knees, but also united together as we fought back and came out stronger. Now we know that we are not alone in our remembrance.Featured image via Lorianne DiSabato/Flickr.