Steamboat event organizers consider security in wake of Boston Marathon bombing

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— Hours after two pressure cookers full of metal and ball bearings exploded Monday afternoon in the final mile of the Boston Marathon — injuring more than 100 people and killing three — Jennifer Schubert-Akin sent an email to members of the Steamboat Institute, of which she is chairwoman, assuring them she was safe.

Schubert-Akin wrote that she finished two minutes ahead of the first explosion.

Her husband, Rick Akin, was in the crowd along the last mile waiting for her to finish.

As they explained Tuesday morning on Fox News, Schubert-Akin was able to retrieve her phone from her belongings and call Akin before cell service went down a short time later.

Akin said he knew she had finished from a phone alert and was moving away from the crowd barrier along the street when the first bomb exploded. He saw the fireball from the second explosion but doesn’t remember hearing it, he said.

The Boston Marathon is a premier athletic event, with more than 23,000 runners this year, hundreds of thousands of spectators, live TV coverage and elite competitors.

Few events rival the history and prestige of the Boston Marathon, but event organizers across the world are examining security for upcoming races in the wake of Monday's explosions.

Organizers of the Steamboat Marathon plan to schedule a meeting with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, said Sarah Leonard, special events director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

“Any event that we do, safety is a top priority for us,” she said.

Security for past Steamboat Marathons has been handed by the Sheriff’s Office along Routt County Road 129, Leonard said, and Steamboat Springs Police Department officers, fire services and medical staff are on standby.

“Typically, we’re more worried about the safety of runners as far as health problems are concerned and from a traffic standpoint,” she said.

The extra security meeting will help “make sure our policies and procedures are safe for all our runners,” Leonard said.

The biggest event to come through Steamboat Springs this year will be the USA Pro Challenge cycling race.

The multistage event is in the highest classification of cycling races held in the U.S., and Steamboat’s stage finish and start Aug. 21 and 22 will be broadcast to an international audience.

Jim Schneider, co-chairman of the Steamboat Springs Local Organizing Committee, said it’s likely security will be a subject of discussion at the committee’s next meeting.

“It warrants that,” he said.

Schneider said much of the race security is organized through the central body and carried out by Colorado State Patrol.

Local law enforcement also contributes security, he said, and the race can draw on staff on volunteers, as well.

USA Pro Challenge CEO Shawn Hunter issued a statement Tuesday:

“The safety of our riders and spectators has always been our No. 1 priority. We are very thankful to all the local safety institutions throughout Colorado that continue to support the race. Given the recent events in Boston, we are going to sit down and take a look at our security procedures to be sure we are doing everything possible to keep the USA Pro Challenge as the fun, safe, family-friendly event it has always been.”

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

Jennifer Schubert-Akin and Rick Akin on Fox News

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