MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This Saturday will be the 37th year of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, and now law enforcement officials plan to increase security to keep racers and spectators safe.
“I totally support the security precautions they’re putting in place,” said Ron Byland, the coach of Minnesota Red’s running club.
Byland will be racing in Grandma’s Marathon this Saturday. More than two months ago, on April 15th, he and his wife were in Boston coaching his team when the bombs went off.
“We had just watched all our runners come across the finish line,” said Byland. “We just started to walk away and we heard the first explosion.”
The explosions killed three people and injured more than 100.
“We’re living in a society where there are bad people everywhere,” said Lt. Eric Rish with Duluth Police.
Rish says his officers will be more visible up and down the course this Saturday, and they’ll have access to live streaming cameras to monitor the race. Duluth Police are also working with county and federal agencies.
Racers will be given clear plastic bags to take items with them while they’re transported to the starting line. On Friday, runners picked up their racing packets and had to show photo ID to check in.
“Photo ID is a practice that’s utilized by most races across the country,” said Bob Gustafson, the public relations director for Grandma’s. “It was one we hadn’t had in place and probably one we should’ve had in the past.”
For spectators up down the 26 mile route, bags will be subject to search, and if you plan to sit in the finish line bleachers your bag will be checked.
Gustafson says the effect the bombings in Boston have had on marathon protocol and security policies will be felt for a long time across the country.
“After what I went through in Boston, I don’t have any issues with it,” Byland said.
More than anything race officials and law enforcement want spectators and racers to know if you see something, say something.