Step by step, Sam Cooper hits the trail taking charge of his health. Like a lot of runners, he has pounded the pavement at local races. “I've been running for 15 years…not a lot…I don't do a lot of races, but I've done some,” he says. Like most runners, he never expects to step into the track of danger.
In the CSRA, hundreds of events are held garnering support from across the country. The Ironman 70.3 Augusta is one of the largest with more than 3,500 participants and thousands of spectators. It's an event that requires a lot of preparation physically, emotionally, and logistically.
Augusta Sports Council CEO Brinsley Thigpen explains, “I don't think the average person realizes how much planning goes into these events and we are constantly looking at how to keep the participants and spectators safe.” She says they begin planning nearly a year before the big event. Those plans include hiring ample security and taking measures to keep participants safe and moving securely in the right direction. “You definitely plan for the worst of the worst and hope it never happens but you have to make sure you plan.”
While event coordinators put tighter safety procedures into motion, Cooper continues to run. He refuses to let an act of terrorism knock him out of step in his effort to stay in shape. “My feeling is you've got to keep living and a lot of people paid for our freedom so we can be free and free is doing what you want to do. If I want to run in the race then I'm going to run in the race,” he explains.