“I think as we all agree it is way too early to be drawing any conclusions on who’s behind these attacks in Boston and what impact, if any, that would have on the city of Oklahoma City and/or our race.”
Cornett said that as of the time of the news conference plans were to proceed with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon as scheduled. He added that it was an “evolving situation” and they would review incoming information and make changes if necessary, noting that they are in ongoing contact with all levels of law enforcement.
Watkins said she and others were doing a walk-through for Friday’s 18th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony at the national memorial when they began receiving news alerts about Boston.
Immediately she heard from various emergency and race officials who are among the thousands helping annually with the marathon.
“It sickens us that someone can’t go out and exercise and run a race and meet their own personal goals and be able to celebrate that,” Watkins said. “For us, and I think for the families and survivors, this race, the Memorial Marathon, has been memorable. It has been a way to celebrate to life, to keep life going forward to keep memories alive.
“We as a city have worked hard for the past 18 years to take a stand against terrorism and we won’t back down without a viable threat. We have been overwhelmed by the response from our runners who have said we will run to defy those trying to scare us.”
The Memorial Marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
She said that while she thinks they have one of the best security plans possible for such an event, they will not put people in a position they don’t think they can control. Watkins strongly emphasized that although the marathon is the national memorial’s largest fundraiser “it is not near as important as life.”
“We will look at what changes, if any, we need to make,” she said.
Contributing: Staff Writer Bryan Dean and The Associated Press.
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