(Rebecca Fishbein) The New York City Marathon returns next month after last year's controversial cancellation, and organizers say they're tightening security restrictions in the wake of April's tragic Boston Marathon bombing.
Updated procedures include the inspection of all bags brought near the marathon, screenings of spectators at the finish line and family members at the reunion area, the presence of more bomb-sniffing dogs and the sealing-off of more entrance and exit points in and around Central Park, where the marathon concludes.
Organizers say they starting stepping up safety procedures immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15th, working with the NYPD and hiring a private security consultant company to ensure all the bases were covered. They were considering banning bags altogether—Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bombers, allegedly hid pressure-cooker bombs in backpacks and dropped them near the finish line.
Instead, though, NYRR decided to considerably increase the number of bag-check checkpoints surrounding race path, particularly at the Staten Island start point and Central Park finish line. And the Times reports that the NYPD will likely use extensive surveillance techniques to keep an eye on runners and spectators alike. "The safety of runners and spectators has always been our highest priority," an NYRR spokesperson told us today. "[W]e are strengthening our already comprehensive security plan in ways that the public will and won’t see in order to ensure the event is as safe as possible for runners, spectators, and volunteers."
Photo Credit: Getty Images/TIMOTHY A. CLARY