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Article updated: 4/17/2013 5:07 AM

Suburban marathoners: 'We keep running no matter what'

By Bob Susnjara

Glen Ellyn Runners club member Lee Crumbaugh says he didn't think his training was very good, so he skipped what would have been his seventh Boston Marathon.

But Crumbaugh, who has participated in 41 marathons, said Monday's bombings have made him determined to be at the start and finish lines with his fellow runners in Boston next year.

"Most of us have had the same reaction," said Crumbaugh, 65, a business consultant. "We're gonna go out of our way to go there next year as a way to kind of say, 'This kind of thing can't derail us, and Boston and the people who run (in the marathon) deserve better.'"

Crumbaugh is among the suburban marathoners who say while the Boston Marathon explosions are on their minds, they aren't afraid to continue with 26.2-mile jaunts in big cities where spectators line the streets or in more pastoral places.

"We keep running no matter what," Naperville Marathon Director Bob Hackett said Tuesday. "We just keep going. That's what marathoners do, the hearty bunch that they are."

Despite the fearless attitudes of some runners, the Boston Marathon bombings are forcing Illinois race organizers to weigh changes.

Wendy Jaehn, executive director of the FirstMerit Bank Lakefront 10 Miler scheduled for Saturday in Chicago, said she'll ask runners to limit how much gear they bring and try to get bomb-sniffing dogs.

"It's always been road crossings and traffic control and medical safety, but now we need to make sure any potential threats to runners are being looked into," Jaehn said.

Illinois Marathon Director Jan Seeley said she received a call Monday from someone demanding cancellation of the April 27 event. She said that's unlikely, but organizers plan to meet Wednesday to discuss a range of possible security measures.

However, like many other runners, Libertyville resident Tim Dannegger said he doesn't intend to live in fear. He said he'd prefer to think the Boston explosions were isolated.

"I don't think it would affect my thoughts with other marathons or running events," said the 35-year-old Dannegger, who finished the Boston Marathon well ahead of the bombings.

At Runners High 'n Tri in Arlington Heights, employee Kathy Loy said those who participate in the sport seem to be uniting. She said some runners made it a point Tuesday to wear the T-shirts they received in races.

"I haven't heard one single person say they are not doing a race," Loy said.

Al Scaletta, 51, of Hawthorn Woods said the Boston Marathon tragedy won't deter him from trying to qualify for that race again or enter others. Still, he expects what happened will be in his mind on the racecourse.

"I think I'll just be more observant," said Scaletta, who finished Monday's marathon about 30 minutes before the explosions near the finish line.

Some, like Craig Bixler, who leads the Fox Valley Marathon, expect the bombings will take away some of the enjoyment of being in a large group, such as a congregation of fans at a marathon finish line.

"Anytime you're in a crowd now, you've got to double think it," he said.

For Pat Gleason of Downers Grove, who will be part of a group of four set to run in Sunday's London Marathon, it will be a matter of trust that British authorities will be on top of any potential threats.

Gleason, 60, said she'll wear a Boston Marathon shirt and plans to look for anything out of the ordinary on the race route. She said she didn't consider skipping London, given it's an opportunity to complete the last of five marathon majors and the airfare already was paid.

"I think we're all a little nervous," Gleason said. "Will it stop us? No. Are our families concerned? Yes. Will they ask us not to go? No."

Bill Pierce of Deerfield, president of the North Shore Distance Runners Club, said it's too soon to tell what effect the Boston bombings will have on other marathons or significant races of lesser distance. With registration now closed for the Illinois Marathon, he said, a barometer to watch will be the number of no-shows.

• Daily Herald staff writers Deborah Donovan, Marie Wilson and Christopher Placek and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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