Charleston Councilman Mike Seekings: ‘We’re going to have to re-think the bridge run’

Mike Seekings

Mike Seekings was entered to run the Boston Marathon, but an injury kept him home in Charleston today, where he worried about his training partners who did go to the marathon after deadly explosions went off at the finish line.

Local people registered for the Boston Marathon

*Bodkin, Maureen -- 40 -- F -- Summerville

Farmer, Jessica M. -- 28 -- F -- Summerville

*Jaynes, Lauren M. -- 27 -- F -- Summerville

Bergeron, Nate -- 28 -- M-- Charleston

*Brewer, Joshua D. -- 32 -- M -- Charleston

Carter, Janet -- 35 -- F -- Charleston

*Kent, Cherry C. -- 56 -- F -- Charleston

*May, Christopher C -- 39 -- M -- Charleston

Blalock, Richard W. -- 60 -- M -- Mt. Pleasant

Cosentino, Cheri -- 42 -- F -- Mt. Pleasant

*Hansen, Eric T. -- 40 -- M -- Mt. Pleasant

Melville, Gary -- 68 -- M -- Mt. Pleasant

Turner, Elizabeth K. -- 30 -- F -- Mt. Pleasant

*Driggers, Jacob -- 37 -- M -- Daniel Island

* Runners with finishing times listed.

“It’s going to change the world, again,” Seekings said of the attack in Boston. “We’re going to have to re-think the bridge run, of course. We have twice the people as the Boston Marathon.”

Seekings had trained for the marathon with Bill Rowell and Eric Hansen, both of Mount Pleasant. Hansen, reached by The Post and Courier, said he and Rowell were both okay and finished the race before the explosions that reportedly killed two people and wounded about two dozen.

Hansen was blocks away from the finish line, waiting at a Starbucks, when he saw lots of people running.

“It was kind of surreal,” he said. “All of a sudden something like 60 texts came into my phone from people trying to see if I was alright.”

Jacob Driggers, a runner from Daniel Island, had a similar experience at the Boston Marathon. He finished the race about an hour before the explosions, and learned what had happened while looking for race results on Twitter.

“I was with (Charleston resident and fellow runner) Chris May and we were walking back to our hotel … when the bomb went off,” Driggers said. “We didn’t hear it, but then we heard the sirens.”

He said it’s strange seeing photographs of the bloodied finish line area, knowing that he was there just an hour earlier. Driggers said that now, people are being told to stay in their homes or hotels.

“It’s like the town’s on lockdown,” he said.

Mount Pleasant runner Richard Blalock, notable for running marathons at age 60 with a prosthetic leg, was also unharmed by the explosions.

“Cramping had slowed me and was about .5 mi from finish line,” he tweeted. “All friends & family OK too.”

Seekings said the Cooper River Bridge Run committee met in Charleston before the events in Boston, but the attack there will surely have an impact on the bridge run here.

“Is bombs going off at the finish line something we plan for? It is, now,” Seekings said.

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said that, in fact, that’s already something they plan for.

“We think about these kinds of things all the time, unfortunately,” he said. “We physically go out and screen areas that might be places for people to place devices, and do explosive sniffs (with dogs) in areas where people would gather.”

Police in Mount Pleasant also said they try to plan for all possibilities at large events like the recent bridge run, which had 40,000 entrants.

“Especially for the bridge run and high profile events, we have plans in place should a critical incident occur,” said Mount Pleasant Police Maj. Stan Gragg. “I’m not going to tell everything that we do, because that would give the bad guys a leg up.”

Mullen said particular attention is paid to events that are well known outside the Charleston area, such as the bridge run and the Family Circle Cup tennis competition.

“While we hope that something like this never happens, we’re certainly planning for it,” Mullen said.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.

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