Beefed-Up Security at Illinois Marathon Limits Access to Finish Line
By Jim Meadows
Next weekend’s Illinois Marathon will have a new rule --- or rather, tougher enforcement of an old rule.
In light of Monday’s bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, spectators at the finish line of the Illinois Marathon will be barred from walking out to meet the runners.
That’s according to a team of public safety agency representatives, who met to discuss the marathon on Wednesday.
Rick Atterberry of the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency says runners can meet up with family and friends at a nearby area, but not on the finish line.
And when their runner is done with maybe taking a photo down on the field with somebody else they’ve been running with, and picking up their belongings and grabbing refreshment, something to drink, a little something to eat, then they can meet up with their loved ones, their friends,” said Atterberry.
Atterberry said the rule barring spectators from meeting runners at the finish line was not new, but had been poorly enforced in the past. He says that out of caution in light of the Boston Marathon attack, the rule will now be more strictly enforced.
The Illinois Marathon finish line will be on the field at the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium, and runners can meet with spectators on the east side of the stadium.
The west side will be reserved for bag pickup --- where runners pick up their bags of clothing and personal items that they dropped off at the starting line. That spot will also be closed to spectators --- and only official Illinois Marathon bags will be permitted.
Atterberry says this year’s marathon will also see a greater number of police and other public safety personnel. To help keep security strong where it’s needed most, personnel along the Urbana portion of the marathon will travel to points along the route in Champaign, once most runners have finished the first part of the race.
The 5th annual Illinois Marathon will be held at 7 AM on Saturday, April 27th. Some of the other races related to the Marathon will be held at different times.