In light of the unfortunate events during the Boston Marathon on Monday, organisers of the RunCzech races have formed a crisis team to discuss the possibility of increasing the level of security at its races.
Director of the RunCzech races, Václav Skřivánek made the following statement: “As the oldest marathon in the world, the Boston Marathon ranks among one of the greatest symbols in world athletics and so Monday’s event has had a really big impact on us. We have a very close relationship with the organisers there and our hearts go out to the injured runners and the families mourning their loved ones.” He went on to say: “At this stage we are working on making modifications to the safety management model currently in place at our races, and will be revealing further details of this. We will be drawing inspiration from the forthcoming London Marathon which representatives of our organising team will be attending in addition to other international races with whom we have established longstanding cooperation.”
The level of safety at RunCzech races is incredibly high. Over 600 security forces workers play a key role at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon – including the Police of the Czech Republic, the Municipal Police of the Capital City of Prague, the Čechymen Security Agency, the Health Rescue Service of the Capital City of Prague as well as the Czech Red Cross. More than 1 100 volunteers are also deployed to provide assistance on the course. In addition to this, races are monitored by the Department for Safety and Crisis Management from the City Hall of Prague whose job it is to monitor entire length of the course via security cameras and to mobilise security forces in the event of any issue arising.
Despite the fact that the security measures are already incredibly tight and efficient, organisers are getting underway with plans to make further modifications to security measures working in conjunction with the individual institutions concerned. One additional measure could involve checking the contents of rucksacks which runners leave behind in the storage area facility. Waste bins are a further critical point to be reviewed. Considering the sheer number of participants involved (approximately ten thousand), the idea of completely removing waste bins is out of the question and further discussions will be held on this matter.
Increased vigilance is always set up in areas where there a higher concentration of people. This refers to the area around the start and finish lines, the technical area for runners as well as the Expo. When it comes to the course, these areas include refreshment stands and hand-over points. A further important aspect of the security measures put in place is the towing away of any vehicles parked along the course.
Former Chief of the Military Reporting Service, Andor Šándor warned “Events of this nature will always be a little exposed to danger due to the large expanse involved. That said, it makes no sense to turn the city into a jail-like setting if we want participants to enjoy the event. It is not possible to draw parallels with other races following the bomb attack carried out at the Boston Marathon. It most certainly isn’t about creating an event for enemies of large scale runs.”
At last year’s Volkswagen Prague Marathon, a total of 125 members from the State Police Force and a total of 135 police officers from the Municipal Police of the City of Prague were put in charge of security. In addition to this, almost 200 guards from the Čechymen Security Agency were deployed to oversee security measures. On top of this, 90 health care workers from the Health Rescue Service of the City of Prague were brought in along 64 workers from the Czech Red Cross. In conjunction with the Organising Team and more than 1 100 volunteers, all those involved are committed to ensuring participants of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and other races within the RunCzech Running League are able to look forward to the race and to make it to the start line without any worries.