PAWTUCKET — The director of two of Rhode Island’s biggest road races says there are no plans to cancel the races in light of Monday’s Boston Marathon bomb attack.
Charles Breagy, who directs the Navigant Credit Union Running Festival Half Marathon and 5K in Pawtucket — scheduled to be held this year on May 5 — and the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K in Providence — slated for Sept. 22 — says the two races will go on as planned.
“These races are still in place to happen. We’re revisiting security and we’ve reached out to police, but as of today, the races will go on,” Breagy said.
Breagy’s own daughter, who works for the New Balance shoe company, was in Boston Monday sitting in the stand of spectators directly across from the first blast, but had left five minutes before the first bomb went off.
“She was badly shaken, but she was able to call me from her phone to let me know she was safe and unharmed,” Breagy said. “There were so many people there, including children, who saw things you would never expect to see.”
More than 1,500 runners and walkers are expected at this year's third annual Navigant Credit Union Running festival in Pawtucket, which offers a half marathon, a 5K and a Youth Run. The half marathon starts and finishes near City Hall on Roosevelt Avenue.
The CVS Caremark Downtown 5k, which attracts more than 10,000 runners each year, features the CVS Caremark Downtown 5k, the Tufts Health Plan High School Inspirational 3K and youth races of varying distances. The 5k is a USATF Championship event with athletes competing for both individual and team champion honors. All races start and finish on Francis Street, which is located on the south side of the Rhode Island State House.
Breagy says he and other race organizers are taking every precaution in preparing for the two races, saying there will be even more discussions with Pawtucket and Providence police to review safety concerns.
“If the police tell us to do something we will do it,” he says.
Breagy says he faced the same dilemma after the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, which took place just a week or so before the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K that year.
“I remember thinking should we stop it? What should we do? Then in his address to the nation, I remember President George Bush saying that while terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, they cannot touch the foundation of America. That’s who I feel now,” he says.
“Speaking for myself and for everyone in the Rhode Island running community we are devastated by what happened in Boston and our prayers go out to those who lost loved ones or have been injured,” Breagy said. “The country has to keep moving. We don’t stop what we’re doing because of some crazy person with his own agenda.”
Breagy, who runs the Rhode Island running web site Runrhody.com, directs most of the larger road race events held in Rhode Island, including the Shamrock Shuffle 5K in North Kingstown, the annual Downtown Jingle 5K holiday season run/walk in Downtown Providence and the Willow Tree Family Turkey Trot 5K.
He says running is extremely popular in Rhode Island, which has more road races and some of the biggest races than any other state in New England.
“It’s a great sport with some really great people and we will continue to do what we love,” he said.