NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Fear of a Boston Marathon copycat attack had officials reminding runners about tight security rules, as two races take place this weekend in New York.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, there is a four-mile Central Park race, and also 9-11 Memorial 5K run and walk. The New York Road Runners Club said everyone should put their belongings in a clear plastic bag, and leave their bags at home if they can.
Clear plastic bags will be given out at the entrance to Rumsey Playfield so runners can transfer their running gear into the plastic bags.
The security restrictions made runner Brian Saltzer feel much better. He is from Boston and ran the marathon.
“I finished. It was a great day. It was a great race. I was on top of the world. At my friend’s apartment. He’s on Commonwealth. So, we went around the corner. I was in the apartment, and the explosions happened,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.
Before the Boston bombings police were treating this Sunday’s road races in Central Park and to the 9/11 Memorial as just two more events in the Big Apple. All they were planning to add were some extra traffic cops.
But not now.
When asked about the potential for added security for the events, Joe Daniels, the head of security for the 9/11 memorial Foundation, told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer, “Oh yes, particularly in light of what happened at the Boston Marathon we can tell our runners and walkers they can rest assured that there’s a lot of focus on any events in New York, this run in particular.
Daniels was speaking about the NYPD’s decision to assign hundreds of extra anti-terror cops — the whole counter-terrorism overlay — to protect the 3,000 runners and walkers who, starting at Pier 57, will race 3.1 miles to the World Trade Center to raise money for the 9/11 museum.
“There will be a good allocation of resources,” Daniels said.
Sources told CBS 2’s Kramer that because of fear of a copycat attack following the Boston Marathon bombings special precautions are being taken to protect those participating in the 9/11 run as well as a 5k charity race in Central Park that is expected to include 8,000 runners, including 400 children.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there will also be bomb dogs, vapor wake dogs that can detect the scent of explosives, and lots of uniformed officers to scare would be terrorists away. Trash cans will be removed and bag searches will be conducted at the entrance and finish lines of the races.
Meanwhile, officers from the Technical Assistance Response Unit will have hand-held cameras on the ground in the hopes that the cameras will act as a deterrent. There will also be cameras on rooftops along the 9/11 run.
At Sunday’s London Marathon, only gear stored in the official bag provided by race organizers will be accepted. Next weekend’s Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and Half-Marathon, organized as a tribute to the victims of the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people at that city’s federal building, only accepts gear in the clear plastic bag it provides runners.
Part of the Central Park race fee and proceeds from the sale of a special running shirt that says “Run For Boston,” will go to a charity set up for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, Diamond reported.
New York Road Runners puts on dozens of races a year, including the New York City Marathon. The club did not say if the policy for Sunday’s run will extend to future races.
In Asbury Park runners created a sea of Blue of Yellow as they raced past a heavy police presence that was on hand for a run being held in honor of a the Special Olympics and Sandy Victims.
“We asked that they not bring any backpacks, bags, napsacks, or anything like that and certainly if they do, to not leave them unattended,” Detective Captain Anthony Salerno of the Asbury Park Police Department told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
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