Security Increased At Country Music Marathon

The 14th annual St. Jude Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon gets underway Saturday morning in Nashville. Photo: AP/Donn Jones

The 14th annual St. Jude Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon gets underway Saturday morning in Nashville. Photo: AP/Donn

Runners will receive RunNow wristbands to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The recent bombings at the Boston Marathon shook the nation to its core. On Saturday, more than 30,000 runners from all over the world will participate in the 14th annual St. Jude Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon in Nashville, Tenn. Along every mile of the 26.2-mile route, there is something happening in this citywide festival.

Along the route, notable local hot spots will roll out the red carpet for runners and spectators, live bands will be stationed and playing all genres of music, themed water stations will nourish the runners, cheerleaders will push the runners on, volunteers will be scurrying about and spectators will be watching and participating in a variety of ways.

Race officials and local law enforcement announced expanded security measures four days after the Boston Marathon and then held a news briefing Tuesday to discuss even more expanded security measures for all four days, especially the races on Saturday.“In light of the horrific tragedy in Boston, there will be many additional security measures put in place at all of our events, beginning with the 2013 St. Jude Country Music Marathon,” said Josh Furlow, senior vice president of operations for Competitor Group Inc., organizer of this weekend’s events as well as other similar races around the country.
“Safety is our first priority,” he added. “Working in cooperation with the local government agencies and law enforcement, some of the measures will be obvious to runners and several others will be unnoticeable behind the scenes.”Some of the enhanced security measures include:* Increased public and private security presence at both the start and finish lines. More than 150 private security officials have been added to the staffing plan.

* Additional security will monitor Gear Check vehicles used for storage and transportation of gear bags at both the start and finish line venues.

* Security will control entry and exit into 32 runner corrals at the start line.

* All participants, spectators and volunteers are subject to random bag checks at the Health & Fitness Expo and on race day and at all-race related events and locations.

* All media members and others with access to restricted areas will be required to produce a photo ID. All bags and equipment will be subjected to inspection.

“The Nashville Police Department continues to put together the final elements of a plan that underscores our absolute commitment to a safe and enjoyable marathon,” Metropolitan Nashville police chief Steve Anderson said. “A number of law enforcement resources will be utilized.”

Anderson said the Nashville police department and its federal partners are urging citizens to be cognizant of and report any suspicious behavior, including unattended packages and backpacks.

With the increased security naturally comes more inconveniences for all involved, including runners, spectators, volunteers and race officials.“We apologize in advance for any inconveniences participants and spectators may experience,” Furlow said, “and suggest that they arrive at the expo and start line earlier than in past years while everyone works to ensure the safest experience possible.”

For more: Fox Sports Tennessee

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