Marathon security changes announced
CHAMPAIGN — Running in the April 27 Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon?
Note that officials are making security changes in light of Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon.
For example, many runners use the valet-like service in which they hand over their clothing bags to race organizers.
Those bags, with the runner's bib number, will be moved to the finish line inside the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium, according to marathon spokesman Rick Atterberry.
"That part is the same," he said. But runners will only be permitted to use Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon bags.
And runners should be careful what they put in their bags.
"We are encouraging the people to make sure their electronics are turned off," said Scott Friedlein, the emergency services coordinator for the marathon.
If a runner is planning on a family greeting at the finish line, think again.
No spectators will be allowed on the field of Memorial Stadium, where all races end.
Expect more police officers and stricter enforcement of rules, Atterberry said. Bomb-sniffing dogs will be used, too, but that's normal for a large event such as the marathon.
Friedlein said Illinois Marathon officials are consulting with federal officials to make sure the Champaign-Urbana race will be safe, but Washington is not dictating how security should be managed.
"We are doing our plan based on what we believe is correct," Friedlein said.
Friedlein said race organizers haven't decided whether to start asking for photo IDs from runners at check-in, since so many of the runners, especially those from out of town, have friends pick up their race bibs and other materials for them.
"No decision has been made, but we have had some discussion about it," Friedlein said.
Friedlein said race organizers are screening volunteers and will meet with those individuals throughout the training process.
"A lot of our volunteers are coming back from helping at previous races, and new volunteers have to go through a classroom training process, as opposed to training online," Friedlein said.
Atterberry said more police officers will be deployed along the marathon route this year.
"One of the things we are going to do is redeploy some of the Urbana police officers in Champaign," Atterberry said. "The race goes to Urbana first. After the race leaves their initial area, some Urbana police officers will help along the route in Champaign.
"The sheriff's office and state police are also going to be involved, but they have done that in the past."