By Barry Janoff
April 17, 2013: In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the NFL, which hosts the 2013 Draft in New York next week, and the organizers of this weekend's London Marathon have vowed to continue on with their planned high-profile events, albeit with heightened security and more intense awareness than usual of anything — or anyone — out of the ordinary.
"The NFL and its clubs have operated with a very high level of security since 9/11 for all of our games and events," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. this week following the Boston Marathon situation. "For next week's NFL draft, we will review and enhance our already comprehensive security plans with the NYPD, Radio City and our private security partners. We will advise the public more specifically next week prior to the draft."
The NFL Draft, scheduled for April 25-26-27, draws top prospects and their families from around the nation. It also attracts countless fans who seek to participate in pre-Draft events and festivities overseen by the league and its marketing partners.
The first round of the NFL Draft will be see live on both ESPN and NFL Network, giving it more national prominence and attention.
Of even greater high-profile prominence is the Super Bowl, which this February will take place in MetLife Stadium in Eat Rutherford, NJ. A plethora of events the week leading up to the game are scheduled for New York, most of them open to the public and many out in plain sight.
Super Bowl XLVII this past February was seen by more than 108 million people. Super Bowl XLVIII is expected to top that, especially given that it will be the first Super Bowl held in an open-air venue in a cold climate city.
"We have been working closely the last two years with federal, state and municipal agencies on a coordinated and comprehensive security plan for the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl," Aiello said in a statement. "We do not comment on specifics of these programs but continue to review and evolve our plans to ensure the safety of everyone attending the Super Bowl."
London recently went through massive security upgrades and issues due to the 2012 Summer Olympics. Many of those will be in place when the Virgin London Marathon is held on April 28.
The situation in Boston only heightens the awareness and intense scrutiny that organizers will bring to the table.
"The 2013 Virgin London Marathon, registration and associated events will go ahead as originally scheduled," London Marathon CEO Nick Bitel said in a statement following the events in Boston this past Monday. "We have reviewed and will continue to review our security arrangements with the Metropolitan Police and other authorities."
The Boston and London Marathons are part of the World Marathon Majors, which also include the Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago and New York Marathons. The latter event was canceled this past November due to the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy, which blew through the New York-New Jersey area a week before the Marathon, which ultimately forced organizers and New York CIty officials to cancel the race, in part due to damage but mainly out of respect for those who had lost their lives or been severely impacted by the storm.
"The World Marathon Majors are devastated about the things that happened, and will continue their efforts regarding contingency plans, following the instructions of the security and medical authorities at the individual Departments in each city.," WWM organizers said in a statement posted to their Web site. "The security at all our World Marathon Majors is our highest priority.
"Sport brings people from all over the world together; it always did and it always will!"
In London, Bitel did say that additional security measures and precautions than had already been planned would be initiated for the Marathon.
"We instigated a full security review and are putting additional resources in on race day," Bitel said on the London Marathon's Web site. "We have taken all reasonable steps to make sure everyone is as safe as possible."
According to Bitel, "We are being fully supported in all aspects of the event to safeguard our runners, spectators, volunteers and staff. Runner registration will take place as planned . . . and we look forward to welcoming our runners there."
Among those participating will be Wilson Kipsang, who won the event in 2012.
"We would all like to express our condolences to those who lost loved ones in Boston," he said. on the London Marathon Web site "They are in mourning right now and we know they are going through a hard time. This was an athletics event, just a race, so we all feel for them. But we will run feeling free. We've been competing in races everywhere and this sort of thing rarely happens. We can see that security matters are in place here and will race feeling completely safe."
"We have been working closely the last two years with federal, state and municipal agencies on a coordinated and comprehensive security plan for the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl . . . We contine to review and evolve our plans."
Bitel said that the support the London Marathon has been offered by stakeholders, London Boroughs and the running community at-large "has been outstanding. We have the full support of the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor's office and other authorities."
Bitel stressed that despite the close proximity in time to the Boston Marathon, London Marathon organizers and local and national police and security agencies were quick to pull together to help ensure the safety of runners and spectators.
"We're deeply grateful to the Metropolitan Police for their immediate support after we heard the terrible news from Boston. There will be additional security checks and extra police, plus our own security measures," he said. "London is one of the safest cities in the world. We saw how the Met Police led an incredible security effort around London 2012. There is no finer force around the world for large events such as ours.
"We want to reassure our runners, spectators, volunteers and everyone connected with the event, that we are doing everything to ensure their safety and that the Virgin London Marathon 2013 is an outstanding success."
Editor's note: The state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston have established The One Fund "to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013." More than $7 million was raised in the first 24 hours of operation.
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