After learning of the Boston Marathon bombing Monday afternoon, Hans Huseby felt “a double punch to the gut.’’
Not only has Huseby, 62, run Boston, he and his wife, Laurie, have directed and produced the Mercedes-Benz Miami Corporate Run since its inception in 1985. On April 25, more than 25,000 runners are expected to converge in downtown Miami for the Corporate Run, and the husband-and-wife team now have even more to ponder in organizing the enormous event.
As of Monday, 460 tents — at least 50 more than ever before — had been ordered by participating teams. The tents will cover much of Bayfront Park.
“It’s hard to say how this will affect things,’’ said Huseby, who, along with his wife, owns FootWorks running stores in South Miami and Miami Beach. “I don’t want to start thinking in terms of what I call airplane novels — the cheap, blow-’em-up, shoot-’em-up thrillers. On the other hand, I have to sit down with the Miami Police Department and say, ‘What do you guys think? Is this something that could happen here?’ ’’
Miami-Dade police released a statement saying, in part, “We have increased our security measures in those areas and sites deemed as critical infrastructures and will continue to monitor the situation,” issued by Juan Perez, Miami-Dade police’s deputy director.
Hans said race representatives will meet with Miami Fire-Rescue officials Tuesday morning to discuss the situation, then meet with Miami police later in the day.
“What we know between now and Tuesday may be instrumental in how we respond to our race,’’ he said. “On the other hand we still may be in the dark. Either way, the safety of our participants and spectators is paramount.
“This could be a game changer.’’
The Husebys, deep into the running community for decades, believe similar events must continue.
“It’s nerve-racking,’’ said Laurie Huseby, a former marathoner. “How can you protect yourself from something like this? We have about four different rescue units and more than 90 police officers for the Miami race, but you can’t live afraid.
“I’d still run Boston if I qualified.’’
Miami’s own marathon — the ING Miami Marathon — drew its race limit of 25,000 on Jan. 27 for the combined marathon/half marathon event that begins and ends in downtown Miami. Next year’s run is Feb. 2.
“This certainly will amplify any of the previous meetings and information pieces that have been passed along to us from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI,’’ Miami Marathon race director Dave Scott said. “It’s just a real sad occasion when sporting events in our country are targeted. It goes to prove that we can never let our guard down.
“We work very closely with the Miami, Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County police, the FBI and Homeland Security. We will remain diligent.’’
Scott said he was at the Boston Marathon two years ago to represent the Miami Marathon. “I walked all along those same barricades near the finish,’’ he said. “It’s heart-wrenching.’’
Hans Huseby ran Boston in 1981. Back then, “when speed was everything,’’ he said, he finished in 2 hours 55 minutes 10 seconds. But Monday’s bombing occurred at 4:09:44 into the race, when the heart of the pack was nearing the finish.
“There are more everyday people running the half and full marathon than ever before,’’ Huseby said. “They consider it a huge accomplishment.
“A lot of us are getting old, so we just dream about it now. Bombing a freaking marathon? This hammers home some of the things we’ve been living with the past dozen years.’’