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Blue Ox Marathon president reacts to Boston bombings

BEMIDJI – The Boston Marathon bombings will be considered as planning for Bemidji’s inaugural Blue Ox Marathon continues.

“I never, ever envisioned an actual race being the actual target” of an attack, said Aaron Riedel, president of the Blue Ox Marathon.

Two bombs exploded Monday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170 people.

“Obviously, something that wasn’t a reality before has suddenly become a reality,” Riedel said.

Planners for the Blue Ox Marathon send their thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

“(To) the families, the runners, the community as a whole,” Riedel said.

In the wake of Monday’s attack, the Blue Ox Marathon medical team will meet next week to review and discuss triage events for the course, Riedel said.

The Blue Ox Marathon, set for Oct. 12, will feature a full marathon, half-marathon, 5K and a kids’ race. Already, about 50 people have registered for the full and half- marathons, Riedel said, noting the goal is to have about 500 on race day.

Focusing on the safety of runners, spectators and volunteers, Riedel said event planners have been working with Beryl Wernberg, Beltrami County Emergency Management director.

“I feel confident in the plan that we’ve already began putting together,” Riedel said.

Medically trained personnel, at least at the level of a First Responder, will be located at every aid station, physicians and registered nurses will be centered at tents outside of the Sanford Center, which Riedel said, will serve as the start, midway and finish point for the marathon.

“(Runners) will never be more than 8 miles away” from that location, he noted.

Law enforcement will have a presence at every major intersection.

“We have steps and procedures in place to ensure the safety of our runners, spectators and volunteers,” he said.