Extra security in place for Missoula Marathon


Extra security in place for Missoula Marathon 07-12-13

MISSOULA, Mont. - The devastation at the Boston Marathon in April had Missoula Marathon organizers taking another look their own security measures.

With help from the Missoula Police Department everything is planned out and in place for the race weekend.

On the list of tightened security: Only runners will be allowed inside the finish gate and they'll be escorted through the finish area. Once they're out they won't be readmitted. Also, the Missoula Police Department will have extra officers on foot, some in street clothes.

"We're going to staff up our numbers this year due to the events in Boston there are going to more of us in the finish line area and more of us in Caras Park," said Sgt. John Weber.

In addition officers will have two bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling the area and backpacks won't be allowed anywhere near the finish line.

"We don't want to see any backpacks. The racers are going to be given what's called a gear bag for all of their stuff so, if we can help it, no backpacks in the race area," said Weber.

Most Missoula residents and runners NBC Montana talked to said the extra security is a good idea.

"It's great to have extra security…it gives you a peace of mind," said one runner.

"It couldn't hurt and anything that is just for public safety is a good measure," said one Missoula resident.

Though not everyone was on board with the idea: "It's a waste of money. It's false security. It can happen anywhere you gather a crowd," said one person.  

Weber said the goal for the weekend is to keep people safe and make sure they have a good time.

Race organizers want to remind folks that the extra security doesn't prevent people from gathering near the finish line. They just won't be permitted inside the finish gate and won't be allowed to have backpacks.

Missoula Marathon Race Director Anders Brooker said this year the popular spectator spot on the Higgins Bridge will have food and live music.

"We want it to be a good time this year, we just want to make sure it's safe," said Brooker.

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