The Boston Marathon bombings marks the first time in history that a U.S. marathon has been targeted directly, bringing race security into the spotlight.
Virginia Beach native Chad Wilkins ran in this year's Boston Marathon.
"It does take the innocence away because in the back of your mind you're always going to be thinking, what could happen or this could happen," Wilkins said.
His family left the spot where the first bomb went off only 15 minutes before the explosion.
"It was just by the grace of God that he didn't set the bomb off while my family was still there," Wilkins said.
As the running community continues to process the bombings, race organizers determined to help their runners feel safe again, are working on ways to improve security,
J&A Racing, which puts on many of the races in Virginia Beach, Va., recently brought in an FBI agent to help them make future races more secure in the wake of the Boston bombings.
"I just think that for any runner that's out there, I think that to know that any of our races that J&A organizes the runner is always the first thought that we have in the back of our mind," Amy Frostick, vice president of J&A Racing, said.
"So we will always make sure that our races are secure that the areas are safe and we'll make it fun for them," she said.
Some of those increased safety measures will include the following:
- More police presence at the finish
- More secure bag checking policies
- Surveillance at the finish line and along the race course
Increased security or not, runners say the threat of terrorism won't keep them from racing -- and many are already thinking ahead to next year in Boston."
"Running is sort of a foundation or bedrock in our lives. It's what we do," Wilkins said. "Running isn't just really a sport; it becomes a lifestyle for a lot of people and this certainly isn't going to affect that with most dedicated runners."
"I saw something that said, 'Don't mess with runners who pay to run 26.2 miles on their day off,'" she said. "So I think runners are strong. Most of them are educated. It's a tight knit group. I just don't think it's a group really that you mess with because they will make it through it."