Ski to Sea heightens awareness following Boston Marathon bombing

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 15, 2013 

Last month's bombing attacks near the finish line of the Boston Marathon put sporting event coordinators of all kinds around the globe into planning mode to ensure that similar events are less likely to happen at their races.

Ski to Sea Race Director Pete Coy was no different.

"I probably started within an hour of that bombing," Coy said. "I wanted to gear up and make sure we were prepared. This is not exactly a strategic target here in Bellingham, but at the same time, if somebody can make some news ... you just need to be prepared."

The nature of the 93-mile, seven-leg relay race from Mt. Baker Ski Area to Bellingham Bay makes security a challenge, particularly considering the race route winds through several municipalities and throughout rural areas of the county.

"The Ski to Sea course is almost four times longer than the Boston Marathon, and we have one-tenth the number of law enforcement personnel," Coy said. "So if someone wants to do some damage along our course, they can do it. The most obvious places to do it would be the finish line and Squalicum Harbor, where there are the greatest number of people gathered.

"We are taking some extra precautions in those areas with the help of the Bellingham Police Department and all the law enforcement agencies we work with, but I don't want to go into any more detail than that. But yes, we're talking about it, and yes we're urging our racers and volunteers to be vigilant. If somebody does something suspicious, call the authorities."

Reach Sports Editor David Rasbach at 360-715-2271 or david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com. Browse the Ski to Sea special section at BellinghamHerald.com/skitosea.

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