As Boston prepares to hold its 2014 marathon a year after the attacks, security planning has been “on steroids,” with new preparations — both visible and less apparent — that draw on lessons learned last year, Gov. Deval Patrick said.
“We’ve had every conceivable asset engaged in the planning for this year,” Patrick, D-Mass., told me and ESPN’s Andy Katz, in an interview for the new audio podcast “Capital Games.”
“I will say that planning has been pretty rigorous in the past, and every year after the marathon or other large public events the team does a recap of what we’ve learned and how we can improve for the next time. You have to imagine this was on steroids this time, of course,” Patrick said.
“We feel very prepared,” he continued. “At the same time, it’s important for us to strike a balance between stepping up security, both that which people will see and that which they won’t see — the undercover and the cameras and so forth — and also preserving the family-friendly nature of what is a civic ritual.”
Organizers have put in place a host of new security restrictions and regulations this year, anticipating the increased public and media interest and the potential for the marathon to again be a target for would-be terrorists.
Runners and fans will notice some differences. But the race will mark an important moment for the city and the nation next Monday, Patrick told us.
“We came through this stronger. We were reminded of the strength of this community and the way people pull together at every level,” Patrick said. “To some extent the innocence of that day was surely affected. But at the same time, the courage and the kindness and the grace of that day it turns out was deep in us all along. And we’re proud of that, and you’ll see that on display.”
Patrick described for us the “chaos” around the finish line after the twin bombings, but said he’s proud of the fact that none of the victims who made it to hospitals died.
This year, he said, “we’re trying to run it in a way that it’s not completely locked-down that it’s not in a sealed chute of some kind.”
Not all preparations will be apparent to runners or those along the race route in Massachusetts: “There will be a large presence of undercover law enforcement as well as uniformed law enforcement. People who are behavior specialists and so forth are just trying to keep an eye on people without sort of freaking them out,” Patrick said.
“I think we have planned to the greatest extent possible for just about everything, and then kicked that up a notch or two,” he said. “The strength of this community was so on display for the world and for ourselves. And that is something I think has been enormously important to call out and to celebrate and to encourage, because it is the source of our strength not just in recovering from that tragedy but in solving all kinds of problems in front of us.”
“Capital Games with Katz and Klein” is a part of a new podcast series, ESPN Perspectives, with original programming on issues across the sports world. The new program will explore the intersection of sports and politics, through interviews and analysis.