Quimby understands why the guidelines were put in place. “I have complete confidence in race officials and local law enforcement who believe this change is necessary,” she said. “This has come about after 10 months of serious thought and discussions. I am willing to suffer some inconveniences for the greater safety of everyone and hopefully everyone else feels the same way. We are marathoners, after all — we thrive on adversity.”
Last year on Marathon Monday, Thor Kirleis of North Reading ran a double marathon: He ran the course in reverse from 5:15 to 9:15 a.m. and then ran the regular route, finishing about an hour before the explosions went off. This year, he’s sticking with a more conventional mode and “just” running from Hopkinton to Boston, which make it his 10th Boston Marathon in a row and 14th total (and possibly his 100th marathon overall). Kirleis is nonplussed by the new guidelines.
“New security measures on the surface seem more a nuisance, especially for runners, but more thought reveals they aren’t so bad for runners and spectators,” he said. “For runners, it means more throwaway clothes so that we can stay warm throughout the morning in Hopkinton as we await the start. It also means bringing along a throwaway fanny pack with pre-race nutrition and perhaps carrying a bottle of water to stay fueled and hydrated. This also forces us to make decisions up front on race gear. No more obsessing over what to wear. For those nervous-type runners, perhaps this is a good thing.”
The greater impact may be on those watching the race, he noted. “For spectators, although security measures may seem extreme, I believe they are needed to help not only ensure a safe event but to also ease safety fears in people’s minds, which is probably the most important part in a return to normalcy,” said Kirleis. “These new policies tell the world that even though we have been knocked down, we will stand back up, stare terror in the eye, and place one foot in front of the other to run again.”