Marathon organizers taking steps to protect spectators, runners from weather

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With more wet and cold New England weather set to come down on Boston Marathon runners and spectators on Monday, race organizers say they're taking new steps to protect spectators and runners.

With the potential of rain and winds creating raw conditions similar to last year's race, organizers said they're looking to utilize past experience to create a smooth process for the 2019 installment.


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Organizers said they learned a lot of lessons from the elements that came with the 2018 Boston Marathon, but were hoping they wouldn't have to put that knowledge to use for quite a while.

Tom Grilk, the chief executive officer of the Boston Athletic Association, said organizers have arranged for 60 or more buses to be staged at medical stations this year to warm runners or transport them, if necessary.

He also acknowledged the possibility of lightning on Monday and said there is a contingency plan of moving runners off the course should lightning ever come to the ground.

Grilk pointed out that last year, there were reports of cloud-to-cloud lightning, but said the rain, cold and wind brought the biggest concerns and challenges.

“If there’s any benefit to the weather from last year, it’s that we learned a lot of lessons about how to take better care of people when this kind of weather occurs," Grilk said. "We hoped that planning might be for 2038, but here it is 12 months later, and we’re looking at very similar weather."


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Grilk said this year's planning also calls for having more handwarmers, ponchos and blankets for volunteers along the race.

Those who train for the Boston Marathon tend to be resilient, and an example of the epitome of the "Boston Strong" motto is Adrianne Haslet.

Haslet lost her foot in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, and then, just this past January in the midst of training for the 2019 Boston Marathon, she was hit by a car while in a crosswalk on Commonwealth Avenue.

“I remember the sound of my body hitting the ground I remember the impact," Haslet said. "It hit my left side, my left prosthetic. The doctors informed me that if it hit my right leg, I’d be a double amputee. I've been through a lot to get to this point. It makes me emotional."

Her ongoing recovery prevents her from running in the full marathon this year, but she will be calling out names at the finish line to have a special role in the race.

Haslet gave some advice to runners aside from never giving up, telling those participating to avoid taking them off.

"Wear surgical gloves underneath your weatherproof gloves," Haslet said. "That's going to hold your temperature in. Number two, wear a shower cap. It doesn't matter what you look like out there."

The BAA says that it will also be adding more gear check-in options, so runners won't have to wait outside in the rain to check in their equipment.

Now, all that's left to do is prepare and wait, and Haslet said she's excited to see what happens on Monday.

"It'll be a tough marathon, and I can't wait to see people finish," Haslet said.