Marine Corps Marathon ups security, requirements for runners

Runners travel across the National Mall near the Washington Monument during the Marine Corps Marathon October 31, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

ROSSLYN, Va. – With security in mind, there are changes in store for this weekend’s Marine Corps Marathon.

As Arlington prepares to host the marathon Sunday, the Boston Marathon bombing remains fresh in organizers’ minds, both along the route and at bag check.

“We used to be liberal about what was checked at the bag tent. Now it has to be in a clear plastic bag,” says race director Rick Nealis.

All contents of checked backpacks and bags will be put in clear plastic bags. Camelbacks and other backpacks will not be allowed in the race, he says.

The organizers are working with seven different law enforcement groups, who will be monitoring both the race and the finish festival where runners meet up with their families and friends.

There will be visible security and security that is not visible to participants, Nealis says. The race organizers have worked with the different jurisdictions to employ use of their surveillance cameras and other crowd-monitoring tools.

There is also an emphasis on first responders and first aid in case of an emergency.

“That’s all coordinated so when we are sending runners for heat exhaustion, heat stroke, blisters, so we’ll be able to track that,” Nealis says.

The race has coordinated with two trauma centers near the race route and know exactly how many beds and the number of patients they can take. They’ve also made more medics available at the race this year, Nealis says.

Aside from the focus on security, organizers attended a ceremony Monday, during which Wilson Boulevard in Arlington was renamed Marine Corps Marathon Drive through October in honor of the partnership with the marathon, now in its 38 year.

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