NEW YORK: The group behind the New York City Marathon, New York Road Runners, is reiterating a mantra familiar to anyone who lives in the tri-state area: "If you see something, say something."
This Sunday, New York City will once again welcome tens of thousands of spectators to its annual marathon, but this time the event will take place only days after a deadly terrorist attack struck Lower Manhattan.
The runners’ group has scaled up its communications about logistics, using the safety and security guidelines put into place after the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Most of the security protocol communications boil down to "if you see something, say something," said Chris Weiller, SVP of comms for New York Road Runners.
The group is also communicating what items are permissible for a runner to bring to the race. For example, Weiller said runners can’t wear costumes or bulky clothing or bring props, and they should only use clear, plastic bags and not backpacks.
NYRR has been in contact with law enforcement agencies about security and safety measures, Weiller explained, adding he wants to keep the event as normal as possible given the circumstances.
Fewer than 1% of those registered have canceled, most likely due to injury or a lack of preparation. This is consistent with cancellation rates of years past, said Weiller.
"There’s a lot of hope and anticipation about the race for [many] runners," he said. "For some folks, it’s life-changing. It’s something that will stay with them forever."
Calling the city "resilient," Weiller said he expects a warm welcome from residents and an "inspiring event for everyone involved."
"It’s not just an experience for the 50,000 runners," he said. "It’s for everyone supporting them, as well, whether they’re family and friends or volunteers handing out water or spectators from the five boroughs cheering on strangers, because they want to welcome them to their city and give them an experience they’ll never forget."
NYRR also extended its sympathies to the victims and other people affected by the attack that left eight people dead and a dozen injured. The primary sponsor of the marathon, Tata Consulting Services, also expressed its solidarity.
"We stand by them. We remain in constant contact with [NYRR]," said a TCS spokesperson. "At the end of the day, we look forward to putting on a great and safe experience come Sunday."