It's hardly an apples to apples comparison, but with Monday's horrific events in Boston, organizers of the Maryville Marathon, set for June 8, can't help but have in mind this week's lethal bomb attack during one of the world's best-known distance races.
Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce Executive director Luke Reven said Tuesday he was sure talk about the explosions would come up when the Maryville Marathon and Chamber Country Classic Planning Group meets today. He added, however, that it's too early to tell what implications, if any, a tragedy in Boston will have on a footrace in Maryville.
"I've been following the news very closely," Reven said. "I can say that we are committed to the safety of our runners, spectators and volunteers."
The biggest impact the Boston explosions will likely have on the Maryville race, Reven said, is the level of empathy and grief felt by members of the tightly knit distance-running community.
Sanctioned by USA Track & Field, the Maryville Marathon is an official qualifying event for runners training to participate in Boston, New York and at other high-profile races across the country.
In addition, a number of amateur athletes from this area have run in Boston, and several Boston Marathon veterans usually participate in the Maryville event.
So there is little doubt that many of the 300 or so runners lining up for the local race this summer will do so with heavy hearts, a sense of loss and a need to grieve and remember those killed and injured in Massachusetts.
"This is really just an outstanding community of people," Reven said.
At this point, there is no reason to speculate that the Boston bomber, or bombers, was trying to do anything other than create as much mayhem as possible on a big media stage while thousands looked on.
So it would be quite a leap to believe the blasts were planned by someone who was angry at marathons generally, or that Maryville, along with scores of other smaller race venues from coast to coast, is a possible target.
Reven said he has not spoken with city officials about beefing up security for the Maryville event, though he almost certainly will should future developments warrant precautions.
The local race already has a Maryville Public Safety presence, though officers are on hand less to provide security than to direct traffic, ensure the safety of runners and pedestrians and handle any medical emergencies that arise during the hours-long event.
In addition to police, the Maryville Marathon relies on about 50 volunteers who staff water stations and take care of other logistical chores.
Additional information about this year's race is available at www.maryvillemarathon.com.