By JOHN VARGO
The bombings at Monday's Boston Marathon changed how to prepare for more than 25,000 runners.
How will it alter the way organizers prepare for one of the area's biggest races, the annual Peace Race on Oct. 13 in Youngstown?
"We've always worked very closely with the Youngstown City Police and the Mill Creek MetroParks Police," Peace Race Board President Gary Sexton said. "They handle a lot of the security for us in the past and that'll be the same way in the future.
''Obviously, we'll adjust in any way they say we need to. We'll let our local police force guide us in any changes they think we need to take," he said.
Ted Rupe, who was one of the nation's best distance runners in the 1970s and 1980s, is the race director for the Peace Race and the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day in Champion. Both events draw more than 2,000 runners each year.
He doesn't want people to shy away from the sport because of what happened Monday.
"I hate running in fear of something like this going to happen," Rupe said. "I think that's what the people who organize terror activities are hoping we do.
"I don't think we have to be concerned about the events around here."
Terry McCluskey, who is a Vienna native and Peace Race Board member, said the event in Boston, which he ran in Monday, stunned him.
"This is an unbelievable change of events for our sport," he said. "I think we were immune to anything like this. Our goal is to enjoy the competition with athletes of all abilities from all over the world. It's supposed to be a celebration of health and wellness and athletics.
"Now we're going to be concerned with not only our personal safety, but the personal safety of the family that accompanies us. This is going to change our lives as we continue to compete everywhere."
The next Peace Race Board meeting is Monday, May 13.
The kids' race runs down Federal Street in downtown Youngstown, while the 2-mile race loops around the blocks of the downtown area before a short stretch down to the finish on Federal. The 6.2-mile race winds through scenic Mill Creek Park and then ends in the downtown area.
"The police are pretty visible downtown," Sexton said. "They're blocking off streets. They're walking the area. I know they're presence is very obvious at the start of the race, at the end of the race and throughout the whole course.
"Everywhere I'm on the course, I see police officers. We're running a point-to-point course, so they're a lot of blocking off a lot of cross streets.
''There's big party at the end of the race. There's a several-block area of downtown Youngstown that remains blocked off after the race. It's a pretty secure environment. Obviously, just like the super large races, we'll be examining this with the police and with our own board."
Peace Race Board Vice President Sarah Flament, who ran in previous races in Boston, said, "What makes Boston so unique is the quality of runners. The city makes you feel like a rock star. It's just amazing, especially coming down Boylston Street (to the finish).
"It's never going to be the same like that again because everybody is going to be scared."
She even fears for the spectators. Flament has a school-age son, a couple years younger than 8-year-old Martin Richard who died in the Boston bombing, watching his father, Bill, finish the race with his mother and sister.
"That boy who died, that could've been my son watching me run," Flament said. "It's easier said than done to not have that apprehensiveness going into large sporting events now. I think it's becoming common and that's the way our world is now.
"You can't help think there's a huge crowd here, something bad can happen."
As for Sexton, who is an avid runner, he won't hesitate to run in events like Boston.
"These races are such a celebration, such a culmination of individual's hard work and support from family members," he said. "When you cross the finish line in some of these big races, it's such a moment of joy and inspiration. We need to work hard at maintaining that.
"I don't see it effecting what races I go to."