Gasparilla Distance Classic Race director reacts to events in Bo - WFLA News Channel 8

Gasparilla Distance Classic Race director reacts to events in Boston

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Among the thousands of runners and spectators in Boston for the marathon were a number of people from Tampa.

Susan Harmeling is the Race Director for the Gasparilla distance classic. She says she was in Boston to speak with runners about the events here.

Harmeling says, " We go to Boston every year to promote Gasparilla. I mean, that's the upper echelon of the running events, you have to qualify to get there, it's incredibly prestigious."

For many runners Boston is the pinnacle of their running careers.

Harmeling says, " That's the thing that's the most disappointing for me as the race director. You know how hard they worked to get there."

Harmeling says she was at the finish line of the race at 11:00 A.M., but had to leave before the explosions to catch a flight back to Tampa.

When she learned of the news of the explosions, her focus quickly went to the people she knew at the race.

Harmeling says the Boston team were very well prepared for a variety of potential problems, but she says there was no way for them to totally prevent an event like the bombings.

Harmeling says, " It's almost impossible to secure 26.2 miles of road race. Short of barring anybody from Bayshore Boulevard, it would be impossible for us to secure the race course. However, there are things that you can do, that we can all do. Be more mindful of what's going on around you. It's very sad that we now have to take that into consideration but we had almost 29-thousand runners this year at Gasparilla, so it could potentially, in some people's mind be a target for something like this."

Now she is concerned about the impact this event will have on the running world.

Harmeling says, "The last thing that we want to do is over alarm people and make them more frightened. Running is a fun sport, it's an innocent sport. It's not innocent any more as of today. That person, who ever they are, they took that away from us and really have changed the feel of running events going forward."

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