Story by 89 WLS Reporter John Dempsey
(CHICAGO) The security chief for a marathon race on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign later this month says he’s confident the event will be a success, despite the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.
Illinois Marathon Security Director Scott Friedlein, a retired Champaign police officer, told Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft on 89 WLS that race officials will make changes in the procedure that allows racers to check their bags, for the event April 27th:
"In the past there have been times when we've accepted other types of bags. We will no longer do that. We'll only accept bags that we issue out. And in addition to that, when they turn those bags in, we're going to potentially be in a position to have to inspect those bags as well as make sure that all electronic devices are turned off."
Friedlein also says there will be an enhanced security presence to make the participants feel safe:
"Like in Boston, I think our key areas are going to be our start and finish areas. We're going to be paying a lot of attention to that. We are in the process of training our course team volunteers and the people who work along the course throughout the entire 26 miles. We've told them things to look for in terms of behaviors and objects and if they see something unusual to call us"
Friedlein says while some people have requested that the Illinois Marathon be called off in the wake of the Boston tragedy, he says most others want it to go forward, to send a message:
"I think one of the things out of Boston that came out of this was a banding of the running community and our community as well, to say 'Hey this is our race. This is our event. Our community'. We want to continue to highlight that and make it a very special day for everybody who's coming into town."
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