NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York City Marathon was set to begin within 24 hours Saturday, and the NYPD has pulled out all the stops for security in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this year.
As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, all 45,000 runners will be screened, and their bags will be checked, at the start point Sunday morning. A total of 1,500 TV-quality surveillance cameras have been trained on the course – especially concentrated on the finish line area.
Police helicopters, harbor units and scuba divers also have been assigned.
“Counterterrorism officers as well as others in plainclothes will be on the route,” said police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “And all officers have personal radiation detection capability, by devices on their tool belts or customized equipment in backpacks.”
Kelly said the New York City Marathon is the most protective race you can enter. He warned potential evildoers not to come to the city.
On Friday, many of the runners were shrugging off concerns for their own safety.
“I’m not going to stop running the marathon because somebody thought it was a good idea to blow up a couple of bombs in Boston,” said 50-year-old runner Dave Kleckner. “I don’t intend to run scared.”
Flooding Superstorm Sandy canceled the Marathon last year, and also forced Kleckner and his family out of their Manhattan apartment building. But he said Friday he was still gearing up to run the marathon when it was abruptly canceled just days before it was to start.
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” he said. “Except another superstorm.”
1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten spoke with runners on Saturday night as they scarfed down carbs ahead of the big race.
Jason, a Boston native living in Florida, said that he had planned to run last year but missed out because of Superstorm Sandy.
“We were here, we flew in from south Florida. Diverted flights into Hartford, got here after about 14-hours of travel checked in and found out it was canceled,” he said.
Runner Angel Santiago and his training partner may lose some sleep the night before the race but it will be because of excitement, not security concerns.
“I know New York is going to be ready for it,” Santiago told CBS 2′s Andrea Grymes.
The New York Police Department bought 100 mobile security cameras after the Boston attack. It said those cameras will be positioned to keep an eye out for anything suspicious along the route where there are gaps in the sight lines of permanent cameras.
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