OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Oklahoma (KOCO) — Oklahoma City and Boston are in different time zones, but they share a strong connection.

Oklahoma helped save lives in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Although it stems from tragedy, Tom Grilk, the retired CEO and president of the Boston Athletic Association and the Boston Marathon, said he feels a connection with Oklahomans.

“Our level of preparedness was much higher than it might ever have been in 2013, because of what everyone here endured,” Grilk said. “We had spent two years rehearsing for precisely what happened, for a mass casualty event at the Boston Marathon finish line.”

The Oklahoma City bombing and safety precautions put in place for the OKC Memorial Marathon played a large role in the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon.

“Six ambulances staged at the finish line became 73. The 30 most critically injured people were at a hospital operating room within 18 minutes,” Grilk said.

Three people were killed, but he said the terrorist attack could have been even worse.

“All those lives were saved that could have been lost by the wretched effects of those two cowardly placed bombs,” Grilk said.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum held a discussion with the former leader of the Boston Marathon.

The OKC Memorial Marathon is also a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Grilk said he hopes Oklahomans know how important they are, not only to the Boston Marathon, but outside Oklahoma state lines.

“They have given strength to everybody else. To us, certainly, but to people around the country and around the world. For the way that Oklahomans ran toward that explosion. Ran to save lives,” Grilk said.

The OKC Memorial Marathon is set for April 27. It will be nine years since the Oklahoma City bombing.

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