NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

May 2, 2013

BAA: Support after attacks at race overwhelming

(Continued)

No B.A.A. workers were physically injured in the explosions, and the aftermath has kept them busy — perhaps too busy to think about what has happened. The organization has encouraged its staff and volunteers to seek counseling; two group sessions have already taken place — at the B.A.A. offices in the Back Bay and in Hopkinton.

Grilk declined to elaborate on the nature or mood of those sessions.

“We still struggle to understand how all of this could have happened,” he said. “(There is) a sense of horror and tragedy. That it occurred adjacent to the marathon course makes it feel, in some ways, a little more personal to us just because so many of our people — workers, runners, volunteers — were close to it. But we weren’t attacked any more than anyone else in the city of Boston.”

Much remains to be done, including:

New security procedures for next year’s race. “There will be a great deal of work done on that, and it will be led by government officials, the law enforcement community,” Grilk said.

Establish official times for the runners who were stopped on the course when the finish line became a crime scene. McGillivray said there is no timetable but the goal was “sooner, rather than later.”

“We’re aware of all that — the interest in closure, completion,” he said. “That’s probably the next step.”

How to accommodate the thousands who have said they want to participate next year to support the victims, the race or the city. “We haven’t ruled anything out, but we haven’t come close to making any determination as to what that might eventually be,” McGillivray said.

The Boston Marathon course winds its way through eight cities and towns, 26.2 miles that lead from the suburban, residential neighborhoods in Hopkinton to the business district of Boston’s Back Bay. Guarding the entire course is not just impossible but undesirable, because the cheering fans are as much a part of Patriots’ Day as the olive wreaths that crown the winners’ heads.

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