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The long marathon route is a difficult distance to protect and is known as a soft target. “All you can do is ask the public, if they see something, say something,” he said.
Evans himself ran the marathon in Boston and had finished when the bombs went off. He was one of three officers who arrested the second suspect under the overturned boat in a yard in Watertown, Mass.
He spoke of one major miscalculation: Boston organizers had calculated that any attack was most likely to occur at the finish as the elite runners were crossing the line — not two hours later, when the four-hour runners were coming in.
Evans wouldn’t share all of the advice he planned to share with law enforcement officers, but he did describe one critical concern: Cellphone call capacity was overloaded in the hours after the Boston bombings, so police couldn’t use them to make calls.
“If you have a major incident, cellphones are useless,” Evans said. Officers were able to send text messages and took over a hotel floor to borrow hard lines.
Law enforcement is prepared for that grim possibility, having found alternatives to cellphones in the event of an emergency at the Twin Cities Marathon, Brophy Achman said. “That’s all I can say,” she said.
Saying no to fear
Evans said he intends to run again next spring in Boston. “If you’re intimidated, you’re giving in to what terrorists want,” he said.
He was invited to town by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Foundation, a charitable organization focused on training officers. Evans isn’t on a talk circuit and wasn’t paid a speaker’s fee, but his travel expenses were covered.
Asked to comment on the Twin Cities Marathon’s self-billing as “the most beautiful urban marathon in America,” Evans said, “I think I’d like to run it.”
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 @rochelleolson