The bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday brought a common thought to mind for Falmouth Road Race staff and public safety officials—could it happen in Falmouth?
Assistant Falmouth Road Race director Matthew G. Auger of Mashpee was driving on Route 3 on his way home from working at the marathon when his wife called to tell him about the bombings.
A few hours earlier Mr. Auger, as an employee of DMSE Sports, which organizes the Falmouth Road Race and the Boston Marathon, was in the lead car on Boylston Street, preceding the elite runners as they crossed the finish line.
As soon as he heard about the bombings, Mr. Auger said he began thinking about security along the Falmouth Road Race route. “Really quickly, I went to ‘are there any areas that you would want to shore up your protection?’ ” he said. He is also the director of the Cape Cod Marathon and he mentally ran through that course as well.
The New Balance Falmouth Road Race, scheduled for August 11, will bring 12,800 runners along with tens of thousands of tourists to town.
What is typically a festive atmosphere in Woods Hole and along the seven-mile course to Falmouth Heights will undoubtedly be different this year, Mr. Auger said.
“I think there’s going to be a feeling of pride that we will not be cowed by cowardice and horrible people,” he said.
I think there’s going to be a feeling of pride that we will not be cowed by cowardice and horrible people.
Mr. Auger was in Boston again Tuesday to hand out medals and belongings to runners who could not finish the race. He said there was a near consensus among runners that they would return to the Boston Marathon. “Ninety-eight percent of the people said they would come back,” he said. Runners are a resilient group, he said, and those attitudes will likely transfer to the Falmouth race.
Mr. Auger said he has no doubt that Falmouth Police and Falmouth Fire Rescue will be able to handle any security issues and medical needs at the road race. “I think the one reason why I’m not worried about the events is because of the competence of those departments in Falmouth,” Mr. Auger said.
Falmouth Police Lieutenant Jeffrey Smith said his mind also jumped from the Boston bombing to the Falmouth Road Race. “I think it’s a natural leap to make when you see what you saw on TV at the Boston Marathon,” Lt. Smith said. The road race, along with the Fourth of July fireworks, is a day when all able-bodied police officers work.
While he would not discuss specific security measures, Lt. Smith said Falmouth police will work with the road race staff to make any changes to the well-established traffic and security plan for the 41st running of the race.
Scott A. Ghelfi, the president of the Falmouth Road Race board of directors, said any and all security measures that need to be improved will be. “I’m sure it’s going to change some things for us,” he said. “We’ll do what we have to do.”
Mr. Ghelfi said he has no doubt that road race director David McGillivray will take the lessons learned at the Boston Marathon and transfer them to Falmouth. He said there will be some sort of tribute to the people injured and killed in the marathon bombings.