River Bank Run reviewing security after Boston attacks

11:34 PM, Apr 15, 2013   |    comments
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Security procedures at River Bank Run

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The attacks in Boston are raising security questions and concerns for next month's Fifth-Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids.  Organizers say they model security after bigger cities like Boston and they want to know exactly what went wrong.

One organizer of the River Bank Run, Greg Meyer, was running in the Boston Marathon just before the explosion.   Meyer was celebrating his win at the Boston Marathon thirty years ago.  He described what he heard and saw.

"All we heard was the sound and smoke poured out," says Meyer.  "The two police officers standing by each other said 'that ain't good', then the second one went off."

The explosions went off just minutes after Meyer and his two sons finished the race.

"My youngest son who struggled the latter part of the marathon was just too stubborn, so he wouldn't walk the last mile, or else if we would've been walking we would have been right there," says Meyer.

Organizers of the Fifth Third River Bank Run are closely monitoring the details from the Boston attacks.

"We will be watching Boston very closely, how they responded to it, what they did well, what could have gone differently," says Kristen Adif, Director of the River Bank Run.

Larry Johnson is the head of security for Grand Rapids Public Schools, and has been involved in a number of events, including the Superbowl.  He says by their nature, marathons are difficult to protect.

"When you go to a marathon type of event over 26 miles or 16 miles stretch of road, you almost create situations where you almost cannot protect every stretch of that road," says Johnson.

Meyer says he won't be stopped from going to River Bank Run or even the Boston marathon next year.

"I already looked at my kids and said we're going to come back, they're not going to stop us from doing what we love to do," says Meyer.

The River Bank Run is on May 11th.  Organizers say between now and then they will be carefully reviewing security policies.




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