Nassau County Plans Security Meeting For Long Island Marathon
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County Executive Edward Mangano said police are “closely monitoring” the ongoing investigation in Boston and have placed police on high alert as a precaution.
Police will hold a security meeting on Wednesday and more briefings are planned before the Long Island Marathon, which is held on May 5.
“We’re doing an overall risk assessment,” Mangano said. “We will no doubt make some changes to our protocols to secure our runners and spectators.”
“We’re gonna talk about increasing police presence and increasing things we’ll do covertly and overtly. We’re going to look at the layout of the race to ensure the safety of the runners and the viewing public,” Police Inspector Kenneth Lack told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.
The race is usually held on the Meadowbrook Parkway between Jones Beach in Wantagh and Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. Mangano did not comment on whether the route will be altered.
“We will be employing all of our electronic surveillance equipment and other sensors along the way,” Mangano said. “We’ll be at a heightened alert for the marathon and we will be taking additional security protocols.”
Lack said there would be bomb-sniffing dogs.
He said people should not be concerned to go to the marathon, either as a participant or spectator.
“I would not be scared,” he said.
Meanwhile, staffers with the Greater Long Island Running Club worked phones, texts and Facebook pages through the night to check on local runners who were in Boston Monday for the marathon.
“So far, we’ve heard that everyone’s OK,” said Director of Development Sue Fitzpatrick. “There are some people who I know that ran that I haven’t been able to see messaged on Facebook that they’re OK, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not OK.”
Barbara Cronin-Stagnari from Mineola was five blocks from the finish line at the time of the blasts.
“You could hear boom, but you had no idea what that was,” she said. “I wasn’t close enough to see it, but we were close enough to hear it. People were all over and they put up the metal gates and they stopped everybody.”
Many runners became separated from each other. For hours, organizers were left with only email and social media.
“We have emergency numbers that we call for people who get injured, but we don’t think about it in terms of some type of attack,” said Fitzpatrick.
For many of the runners with this running club, the Boston Marathon was supposed to be a warm-up for the Long Island Marathon.
Long Island resident Linda Ottaviano said she was running the Boston Marathon for the third time and everything seemed normal to her until the explosions erupted.
“And I looked down a side street where you could see the finish line and everybody was running away from the finish line,” she told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.
Ottaviano is home safely and she is part of the Greater Long Island Running Club, which helps organize the upcoming marathon.
She said she is not afraid to run, but security must be increased.
“I don’t think that anybody’s going to attack the Long Island Marathon, but I think it’s very hard to search every spectator on the side of the course,” she said. “People should be vigilant and people should be told be vigilant and look out for other people.”
Greater Long Island Running Club President Michael Polansky does not believe the bombings will deter people from running in the Long Island Marathon.
“I think people if anything will get mad, they’re not going to scare me off, I’m not going to bow to the bad guys,” Polansky said. “I think it will help registration for the Long Island Marathon actually. Nobody will drop out.”
Mangano said so far there has been no drop off in registration.
“We have well over 5,000 registered and we anticipate having close to 8,000 runners that day,” Mangano said. “We will continue to do all that we can to make certain that it is a nice, safe event where people can gather.”