After Boston, Macon Woman Prepares for Peachtree

9:55 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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Thursday tens of thousands of runners will snake their way through Atlanta to celebrate Independence Day with the Peachtree Road Race.

It's billed as the largest 10k in the country.

This comes less than three months after the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.

Kristie Poole, a Macon runner who is competing in the upcoming Peachtree, was a part of the Boston Marathon, something she says was on her "bucket list."

She never could have dreamed how things would have played out that April morning.

Poole still has the USA Today newspaper that came out the next day describing the bombings.

"It just seems surreal looking at it now. This is the first time I pulled it out since Boston," she said.

Poole unpacked all of her Boston and other running memorabilia, something she still has mixed emotions about.

She finished the marathon last spring when the violence began.

At a time when most runners are joyous, the reality of the situation set in for her.

Poole says she encountered a distraught young lady who informed her that a bomb had gone off.

Poole ran upstairs to her hotel room.

"We could see people running away and police shoveling people to the side... just to try and get them out of there," she recalled.

She left the next day.

"We were one of the first planes to touch down in Atlanta from Boston, and there was a news camera there. One of the questions was 'How do you think the events in Boston will affect Peachtree?' " Poole recalled.

At that point Poole couldn't have known about the plans the city of Atlanta has put into place.

On the fourth of July 400,000 cameras will line the race route. Police have set up a command center, and they will use hand radio operators for extra support.

Law Enforcement will also work 12-hour shifts leading up to and during the race.

"Who would have thought in the history of runs that you would need a command post of security to run a race? But if there was ever going to be another target like Boston, New York, or Chicago, it would be Peachtree.  It just attracts so many people,  and Atlanta is a huge, popular city," Poole said.

Out of the 55,000 runners that will cover the 10k course, Poole is one of the few with first-hand memories of Boston that will haunt her forever.

She considers herself lucky.  She didn't suffer any injuries, and she finished the race, but she still carries scars.

"It's not going to keep me from Peachtree and I'm going to go back and do Boston," she stated.

If you plan on going to Atlanta to run or just watch the race, expect police to check your backpacks and longer security lines.

Also police say if you see anything suspicious be sure to report it.

Poole says she did qualify for the Boston Marathon next year with her time of three hours and twenty minutes.













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