NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nearly 50,000 runners took off Sunday morning for the ING New York City Marathon.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, it was the first New York marathon race since Superstorm Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombings.
The marathon began at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island. Runners will then go across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, through Brooklyn and into Queens at the halfway point.
The race then was to proceed over the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, and up First Avenue all the way through the Bronx over the Willis Avenue Bridge.
The race then was to return to Manhattan down Fifth Avenue, and finally into the finish line in Central Park.
The wheelchair division took off at 8:30 a.m., and the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge, Handcycle category, and select ambulatory athletes with disabilities, followed.
Professional women began at 9:10 a.m., and most of the other runners were set to take off between 9:40 and 10:40 a.m.
And security has been a major focus. 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.
There will also be 49 police dogs on the ground, including specially-trained canine units that can detect explosives moving through a crowd.
“Two years ago there was security, but not nearly like this,” said runner Jane Kinsella of Hauppauge.
Overall, race organizers have spent twice as much on security this year compared with the last race in 2011.
“We feel secure we feel good about this,” said Kerin Hempel of New York Road Runners. “We’re really looking forward to an event that everyone can enjoy.”
But for many competitors, safety remained a concern.
“When I told my 9-year-old that I had been selected, her first response was, ‘Mom, is there going to be a bomb?’” said Jennifer Beehr.
But police Commissioner Ray Kelly reassured runners that the course is safe.
“Well, I think it’ll be as safe as it’s ever been. It’s a long route, 26 miles, but we’ll have significant resources,” Kelly said.
But many marathoners wanted nothing more than just to get started.
“This is my first marathon,” said Karen Brand of San Francisco. “I’m getting a little jittery, but get some coffee in me a bagel and it’ll be good.”
“So ready!” added Birgit Sacher of Santa Rosa, Calif. “It’s hard to train two years in a row for a marathon, but it’s energizing and the city’s so welcoming.”
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