Reporting Bill Hudson
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — As finishing touches go up on the finish line along John Ireland Boulevard, 28,000 runners spent Friday checking in for marathon weekend.
“I’ve been training all summer for it, so I’m looking forward to it,” said Anna Williams.
For her and fellow recent college graduate Kristen Nelson, this will be their first Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.
For both runners and the expected 300,000 spectators cheering them on, April’s tragedy in Boston changed everything.
It’s why race organizers invited Boston’s Police superintendent, William Evans, to visit St. Paul last month and offer his helpful advice.
“The key is to train as many people up — whether they are policemen, whether they’re medical or whether they are civilians there — to look for something that just doesn’t look right,” Evans said.
Twin Cities Marathon organizers are confident in their security plan. They add that for the past several years they have issued all competitors clear plastic bags to carry all of their clothing items in on race day.
“Safety has always been our number one priority,” said Twin Cities Marathon Executive Director, Virginia Brophy Achman.
While not getting into specifics over the numbers of officers and security cameras on the streets, Achman does have one major request for spectators.
“The one thing we are asking this year that’s different is asking the public and spectators to please leave their bags and backpacks at home. Don’t bring them,” he said. “And if you do, they may be subject to search, but that’s by law enforcement.”