Sports Law • Risk Management

Boston Bombing: How Participants and Spectators Can Help Keep a Race Safe

Yesterday’s Boston bombing has rocked our country. The prestigious Boston Marathon is a day in which the race organizers expect to deal with challenges; however, yesterday the preparation and response of these race organizers were put to the test.

To help identify potential problems, race organizers should rely on support from four groups: staff, emergency personnel, race participants, and spectators. All four groups can help be the eyes and ears during major sporting events.

The first two groups, staff and emergency personnel, should be highly alert to and trained in how to respond to suspicious situations or potential problems. The second two groups, race participants and spectators, are likely not as alert and probably let down their guard because they feel safe with the staff and emergency personnel around.

While a race atmosphere should be fun and enjoyable, race participants and spectators are two overlooked, but key groups that can help race organizers keep an event safe. Race organizers should provide reporting methods for those attending the event to text, tweet, call or otherwise report any suspicious or potentially problematic activity. Reporting methods should be widely communicated to those attending the event and there should be dedicated, trained personnel who monitor the reports and are equipped to investigate and implement an immediate response.

Encouraging race participants and spectators to report issues has two benefits. The first benefit is that more people are looking for and reporting problems. The second benefit is that race participants and spectators feel responsible for helping to create a safe environment. The more people who are invested in creating a safe event will help make a major sporting event safe and enjoyable for all.

Contact Nohr Sports for more strategies on creating a safe sporting event.