How the Boston Marathon bombing is changing other Marathons

Hello! Happy Friday!

This week has been busy for me, but I am almost caught up with everything I procrastinated while in Florida last week.

This morning I was fighting with SkinnyRunner about her trying to con me into running a crazy hilly race. Then, I got distracted and went for a run. Well, she found me!

We happened to be running the same path and did a couple of miles together! Score one for fate.

running with skinnyrunner

The day of the Boston Marathon bombing the world of road racing changed. It’s sad, but a sport that is based on challenging yourself past your limits, fundraising for awesome causes and spreading the love of running got really shaken up. I had friends there (thank God they were all okay). I got calls from my friends and family checking if I was there. It really hit home.

boston strong

Luckily, marathon runners are a relentless, badass group of people. They will not be stopped. So, the show will go on.

Fall Marathon season is the best, biggest season for the big 26.2. There is the Chicago Marathon, Marine Corp Marathon and New York City marathon among hundreds of others. But the race organizations have had to tweak the rules a bit for some safety precautions following Boston.

This is what it means for runners and their spectators…

1. Gear check – if you are going to check gear it must be in the clear plastic bag provided by the race. Most of the time you’ll get these at the expo.

FRNY 2013(source)

2. There will be more baggage checks. Runners and spectators will have their items checked at the expo, race and to get into certain race related activities. Don’t bring bags you don’t really need as this will slow down the process for everyone. Most races are suggesting ONE bag person, no bigger than a purse. Or murse if you’re a guy.

3. Camelbacks and backpacks will NOT be allowed at most races. *Cats are probably not allowed either, but I’ll check before I pack him in my bag.

no cats or camelbacks at races

What? I can’t go?! Not cool.

cats at marathons dont mix

You CAN use handheld water bottles and hydration belts (like the ones I talked about in my vlog). But camelbacks and backpacks will not be allowed.

handheld water bottle (450x800)

4. If you are unsure what your race will allow or not allow – check the website and actually open up all those emails they send before the race. All races should have their policies and updated safety information on the site well in advance of race day.

If you trained with a camelback or backpack you need to find out ASAP if your race allows that. If not, you need to find a new way to hydrate.

You should pack your gear check bag knowing it will have to fit in a clear, plastic bag. Don’t bring anything you don’t need.

Here are a few options:

Nathan Quick Draw Hydration handheld

Nathan Trail Mix Hydration Belt


Marine Corps Marathon Safety Information with approved and banned items.

The New York City Marathon has a list of prohibited items here.

Related: Update from one of the amputee victims of the Boston Marathon bomb. via WSJ

One victim seeks more support from funds. Via Washington Post.

How the Boston Marathon Bombing will affect road races. Via Runner’s World.

Question: Thoughts? Has the Boston Marathon bombing changed how you feel about big road races?


  1. says

    Being from Boston, no. Crazy people are everywhere. We can’t stop living because of it. I’m running the Portland Marathon Sunday and I was lucky enough to get into NYC through the lottery. I will be happy to follow any request from organizers. They are only trying to keep everyone safe.

    • Lisa says

      I’m from Boston too, and you know what really gets my goat? The way people are making the bombing about runners and races. Yes, they bombed a marathon, but they were not targeting runners. Did you (monica and others) know they were planning to bomb our city’s 4th of July celebration but didn’t have the bombs finished in time? What would people be saying if they did bomb the esplanade? I know I’m not getting my thoughts out clearly becaus its early and I’m not particularly articulate, but they way runners are “owning” this tragedy because it happened at a running even just annoys me. They attacked our city and our people, all of them, not just the runners. The bombs were on the sidelines in the crowd after all.

      • Lisa says

        I guess my point is their goal was to bomb a large group of people and hurt as many people as they could, and everyone knows the marathon is a huge event in our city, for runners and spectators alike. There’s always a ton of people there, no security and people are paying attention to what’s going on in the street rather than the side walk where the bombs were left.

      • Cynthia says

        I’m not from Boston, but I agree with what you’re saying, Lisa. The bombings were an attack on PEOPLE, not runners. It happened to have been carried out at a marathon. The way many runners have taken ownership of the bombings as an attack on them/running really boggles my mind.

  2. says

    The Marine Corps Marathon will be my first marathon ever and I am SO excited. But I do think there is a part of me that is a teeny nervous about having so many people crowded together. But then I think about how the race organizers are taking all the necessary precautions and all I need to worry about is running 26.2 miles!

  3. says

    I totally agree with Bethany. Crazy people are everywhere. If you stop living your life because of that, the crazies have won. I ran Boston this year and had a great experience pre-race & race wise. I’m sure they will step up security for next years race not only in the Athlete’s Village but around the finishing line as well and I’m ok with that. It might mean we have to do things a little differently or perhaps train with something different and I’m ok with that. It’s all about safety first for the athletes and the spectators. It hasn’t changed the way I feel about big races at all. In fact, I’m going back to Boston next year to show my support.

  4. says

    What happened at the Boston marathon this year doesn’t make me not want to run big races, but I do think about them differently. I do worry a little bit, especially with having loved ones there watching me. I know things like this can unfortunately happen anywhere, but it doesn’t make it any less scary. My heart aches for the victims. As the rest of us move on excited to run races, qualify for Boston, or get a PR they are dealing with adjusting to a totally different life. It makes running a marathon seem really silly, but incredibly important all at the same time.

  5. says

    Wow! I often run my long runs with a camel back. I’m running a pretty small marathon in Dec. I’ll have to check to see if they are prohibiting anything, so I can adjust my training. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Jennie says

    I ran the San Diego rock n roll half which was a month and a half after Boston. I noticed a lot of bomb sniffing dogs near the finishing chute and near all public transportation that day. It was a chilling reminder, but only makes me want to run more and not let crazy mo-fo’s take away our sport!

  7. says

    When I ran the SF marathon, they said there would be heightened security but since I had no bag to check and I shuttled to the start, I really wasn’t delayed or noticed anything out of the ordinary pre-race.

    The thing that changed for me personally was that I feel more grateful to live where I live, in a place where a random bombing is the exception more than the norm. Some places in the world are not this lucky.

  8. says

    My family is from Boston and two of my brothers were 1st responders for the bombings. They were ok, along with my other brother who finished the race before the bombs went off. It was definitely a life changing experience for the whole family, but I think it would be unhealthy to take what happened and be fearful of being in public spaces. I’m happy to see some safety precautions being implemented and hope that it puts people at ease about going to races.

  9. says

    Oh Vegas! You are so photogenic….
    I’ve lived in New York City my entire life (40 years!) and am quite used to restrictions for big events, (especially after 9/11) whether it be a music concert or amusement park or marathon. Heck, I was at a James Taylor concert once and they almost didn’t let me in with my purse which looked like a back pack. I think the camelbak restriction is probably the hardest for some to deal with. My good friend has trained for her latest bunch of marathons with one and dropped a lot of money on them (she got 2 vest style ones with teeny tiny pack areas (vs the big backpack kind). But she understands and is quickly working to determine an alternative. At least they gave a month’s notice of the changes/restrictions. I will gladly follow all rules and regs. NYC Marathon will be my 4th marathon and while I’m super excited and nervous it’s nothing like my first marathon and I’m much less ruffled by changes and restrictions.

  10. says

    It’s made me really realise that anyone can be a target. It showed that the perpetrators do not care for anyone, and what they may be contributing to society. It reminds me how resilient runners are, and how we’ll adapt as necessary to new rules and guidance. We’ll not be beaten- we’ll just find better ways of making our events safe, fun and enduring.

  11. says

    I agree, we can’t stop living because of such attacks. Yes, we need to be more cautious, but everyone has their own destiny. Thanks for great tips! Are there rules apply to every big marathon? This Nathan belt looks cool, but I didn’t like the bottles:).

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