Tight security to remain in place for 2nd Boston Marathon since bombing
By Bob Salsberg for The Associated PressNews Public Sector
Enhanced security measures will remain in place for next week's Boston Marathon, the second since the deadly 2013 bombing at the finish line of the iconic race, authorities said Monday.
There were no known threats of any kind against next Monday’s race, authorities stressed.
The 2015 race comes less than two weeks after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted by a federal jury on 30 counts related to the bombing that killed three people, and subsequent events including the fatal shooting of a police officer. The sentencing phase of the trial, in which federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty, is scheduled to begin the day after the marathon.
There were no known threats of any kind against Monday’s race, authorities stressed.
“This plan will look very much like the plan that was in effect last year,” said Kurt Schwartz, Massachusetts’ undersecretary for homeland security.
As was the case for the 2014 race, the anticipated 1 million spectators along the 26.2-mile (42-kilometre) course were being strongly urged to put personal belongings in clear plastic bags and avoid bringing backpacks, other large bags or coolers to the race.
Security checkpoints will be in place in key locations such as the finish line area and the start line, officials said.
One new wrinkle: Police are warning against the use of any drones or model aircraft.
Massachusetts officials described the enhanced security procedures for the marathon as “reasonable and commonsense guidelines,” not meant to detract from a family friendly Boston tradition nor discourage anyone from coming out to watch and cheer the runners on.
Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, said about 30,000 runners were registered for Monday’s event, down from last year’s expanded field of 36,000 that included anyone who had been unable to finish the 2013 marathon due to the bombing.
The BAA, which organizes the race, planned to continue its crackdown from a year ago on unregistered runners who jump on to the course.
Often referred to as “bandit” runners, they can present “a very legitimate security anxiety for everybody who is both watching the race and in the race,” Grilk said.
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