The Boston bombings are reverberating at the Long Island Marathon on Sunday with increased security, a tribute to the attack’s victims and more runners eager to show they’re not retreating to terrorism.
New York State Troopers are helping Nassau County police with the added security measures that include bomb-sniffing dogs, radiation detectors and requiring participants to use clear bags. Officials will hold a 26-second moment of silence honoring the Boston Marathon–one second for each mile–before the big race. And the participants in the weekend-long festivities leading up to the LI marathon clearly hadn’t lost their appetite for the competition, judging by the long line during the pre-race pasta party on Friday night.
“I was not signed up to do this but after Boston I signed up,” said 29-year-old Brendan Droge of North Merrick, who was about 300 yards from the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off April 15. “It’ll be a day that I’ll never forget.”
He’ll be wearing a Red Sox jersey for the race and will join Boston Marathon runners from LI during the pre-race ceremony to sign messages of hope on a 70-foot banner that will be sent to the Boston Athletic Association, which orchestrates the Boston Marathon. The banner will later be opened up to the rest of LI’s marathoners at the Eisenhower Park finish line.
“It’s not going to keep us from running,” said an undeterred Tom Brewer, 58, of Mineola. “Runners are gonna run.”
Ken Fradkin, 49, of Bellmore, who’s running his eight half marathon, doubted that the race will be targeted.
“It’s probably more dangerous going to Yankee Stadium,” he said.
A 1-mile run, a 5K race and a kids’ fun run is scheduled for Saturday. The marathon, half-marathon and a 10K race are all slated for Sunday.
The races will force road closures from Wantagh State Parkway between Sunrise Highway and Brush Hollow Road, as well as stretches of Jericho Turnpike, Old Country Road, Merrick Avenue, Salisbury Park Drive, Carmen Avenue and Charles Lindbergh Boulevard.