Illinois Marathon takes steps for safety
CHAMPAIGN — The emergency services coordinator for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon says he will meet with local law enforcement officials later this week to talk about security for this year's Champaign-Urbana event, in the wake of Monday's explosions at the Boston Marathon.
"As I see it, the incident in Boston was a localized event, but we don't want to take any risks either," Scott Friedlein said on Monday night.
Friedlein said the meeting with law enforcement officials had already been scheduled prior to the explosions in Boston. He said the meeting will be an opportunity to talk about any security changes for the April 25-27 marathon.
"One thing we are talking about is putting in new procedures for the bag drop," Friedlein said. "That's the bag people check in containing their gear.
"We are only going to take our Illinois Marathon bags. Every runner is issued a number on their bib, and you will have to show your number to check the bag."
He said other security options, including the possibility of using bomb-sniffing dogs, are possibilities.
"We've had dogs with us to provide security for Illini football games," he said. "We are going to do everything possible to make sure that the people who take part in the races and the people who come out to cheer them on are comfortable."
Illinois Marathon director Jan Seeley said the series of races are still on.
"At this point, we don't have any option not to have the marathon," Seeley said.
Seeley said she has many close friends who were running the Boston Marathon on Monday.
"When I heard what happened, I was devastated. I was crying. It was just awful."
Seeley said that all the area people she had been able to contact were not hurt by the explosions.
"But there were a lot of close calls," she said.