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Forum News Service, Published April 15 2013

Area marathon directors take notice of events in Boston

FARGO – It was within the last two weeks when Fargo Marathon director Mark Knutson visited with Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray.

“My heart goes out to him, you can’t help but feel terrible for those guys,” Knutson said referring to Boston Marathon officials. “That is the baby of marathons. It’s Patriots Day in Boston. It chills me and makes me really sad.”

Knutson said his marathon staff annually holds meetings with crisis management teams, FM ambulance and police units to play out possible scenarios, like leaking chemicals, cars accidentally running into runners or heat-related injuries.

“There is a definite chain of command of how things would play out,” Knutson said. “Unfortunately, it’s a reactionary type of thing. I’ve already been asked if we are going to increase security. We’ll take whatever steps necessary but something like this, it’s pretty much impossible to prevent.”

The ninth annual Fargo Marathon, scheduled to be held May 18, is expected to attract more than 20,000 runners.

Monday afternoon, Scott Keenan, executive director of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., issued a statement regarding the Boston tragedy.

“On behalf of the Grandma’s Marathon staff and board of directors, we are extremely saddened by the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. We want to pass along our thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by today’s events, and we will continue to keep all of those people close to our hearts,” Keenan wrote. “The safety of our runners, volunteers and spectators has always been our main priority, and rest assured we will be reviewing and examining our security measures and protocols with the appropriate agencies in the coming weeks. In the wake of today’s heartbreaking news, however, we want to keep the immediate focus on those affected in Boston.”

Grandma’s Marathon usually attracts more than 17,000 runners to the

three-day event in June.

Gabriele Anderson, the most accomplished professional runner from Perham, Minn., was in Boston for Marathon Weekend. She didn’t participate in the marathon, but was in the city for the celebration.

Anderson announced on social media Monday that she had departed Boston Sunday evening and was back safely in Minnesota.

Anderson ran in the Boston Athletic Association Mile Sunday. According to Anderson, the Mile race crosses the finish line three times as part of the loop course. Two bombs exploded near the finish line on Monday.

Anderson finished second in the Professional Women’s Mile in a time of 4:52.7. Fellow-American Brenda Martinez won the race in 4:51.4.

“It seems exceptionally un-newsworthy now, of course,” Anderson said. “Boston is amazing for runners.”

Anderson was in Boston Thursday through Sunday night. She stayed in a hotel three blocks from the explosions.