Security rules implemented for 2014 Boston Marathon

Boston Police announced a plan Wednesday that outlines how it will handle crowd control and security at this year’s marathon. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CUMMO/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston Police announced a plan Wednesday that outlines how it will handle crowd control and security at this year’s marathon. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CUMMO/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO

In order to better protect participants and spectators after the tragedy of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, the Boston Athletic Association announced new security rules will be implemented during the upcoming marathon.

A no-bag policy will prevent runners from bringing bags onto the course, the Athletes’ Village or near the start and finish lines. In addition, the BAA will limit and restrict bag size for spectators, amount of water carried and the size of signs and flags. There will be a security screening at the beginning of the race to ensure these rules are followed, according to an email sent to race participants by the BAA on Thursday.

“For the 2014 Boston Marathon, with an increased field size and for everyone’s safety, we will work with public safety officials to ensure that we preserve the exceptional race day experience that makes the Boston Marathon an icon in the world of sport while making race day safe and enjoyable for all,” the BAA wrote in the email.

This high level of security will require help from local authorities.

Sergeant Michael McCarthy of the Boston Police Department said BPD officers will work with the BAA to enforce rules and keep people safe.

“Security plans are still being addressed and finalized,” he said in a Friday statement.  “No final plan has been issued. Given the unprecedented events of last year’s marathon there will be additional resources assigned to the event to ensure the safety of runners and spectators.”

Several running clubs said they appreciate the BAA and police department’s efforts to make the race safer and more enjoyable.

Jim Sweeney, president of Parkway Running Club, said the restrictions are reasonable for runners and spectators to follow.

“[The BAA] really tried to think through what they need to do to make sure that that nobody gets hurt and limit that as much as possible to make it a good race for the runners and spectators,” he said. “It’s hard to do, but I think they’re doing a great job at balancing those two things.”

Drusilla Pratt-Otto, co-president of Liberty Athletic Club, said although the bag rule is an inconvenience, it will not deter runners from participating in the race.

“Runners are creatures of habit, so to have to not run with items [or] to not be able to check bags at the start … all of these changes do make participating more challenging,” she said. “But in the end, they will run a marathon, they will finish and they all will be part of a community that is fiercely proud together.”

Several residents said they understand the need for safety, but they are unsure about the BAA’s new rules and restrictions.

Veronica Larouche, 58, of Dorchester said stricter security rules might not be successful in keeping out people who want to cause harm.

“I’m not a big fan of one-size-fits-all rules,” she said. “Someone who wants to do evil will find a way to work around the rules. They could carry a gun or a machete, but it would be hard to conceal a machete. By logical means, there is a way. They could just pick another marathon, venue or city and get out of Boston.”

Ornelia Smith, 28, of South Boston, said she likes the efforts to ban backpacks.

“I would feel 100 percent more safe,” she said. “I know security in Boston is very maintained. The rules help everyone stay safe and reduce fear. If someone wanted to do anything, they would probably think twice. It’d be harder now because everyone is more aware of the dangers.”

 

In order to better protect participants and spectators after the tragedy of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, the Boston Athletic Association announced new security rules to will be implemented during the upcoming marathon.

A no-bag policy will prevent runners from bringing bags onto the course, the Athletes’ Village or near the start and finish lines. In addition, the BAA will limit and restrict bag size for spectators, amount of water carried and the size of signs and flags. There will be a security screening at the beginning of the race to ensure these rules are followed, according to an email sent to race participants by the BAA on Thursday.

“For the 2014 Boston Marathon, with an increased field size and for everyone’s safety, we will work with public safety officials to ensure that we preserve the exceptional race day experience that makes the Boston Marathon an icon in the world of sport while making race day safe and enjoyable for all,” the BAA wrote in the email.

This high level of security will require help from local authorities.

Sergeant Michael McCarthy of the Boston Police Department said BPD officers will work with the BAA to enforce rules and keep people safe.

“Security plans are still being addressed and finalized,” he said in a Friday statement.  “No final plan has been issued. Given the unprecedented events of last year’s marathon there will be additional resources assigned to the event to ensure the safety of runners and spectators.”

Several running clubs said they appreciate the BAA and police department’s efforts to make the race safer and more enjoyable.

Jim Sweeney, president of Parkway Running Club, said the restrictions are reasonable for runners and spectators to follow.

“[The BAA] really tried to think through what they need to do to make sure that that nobody gets hurt and limit that as much as possible to make it a good race for the runners and spectators,” he said. “It’s hard to do, but I think they’re doing a great job at balancing those two things.”

Drusilla Pratt-Otto, co-president of Liberty Athletic Club, said although the bag rule is an inconvenience, it will not deter runners from participating in the race.

“Runners are creatures of habit, so to have to not run with items [or] to not be able to check bags at the start … all of these changes do make participating more challenging,” she said. “But in the end, they will run a marathon, they will finish and they all will be part of a community that is fiercely proud together.”

Several residents said they understand the need for safety, but they are unsure about the BAA’s new rules and restrictions.

Veronica Larouche, 58, of Dorchester said stricter security rules might not be successful in keeping out people who want to cause harm.

“I’m not a big fan of one-size-fits-all rules,” she said. “Someone who wants to do evil will find a way to work around the rules. They could carry a gun or a machete, but it would be hard to conceal a machete. By logical means, there is a way. They could just pick another marathon, venue or city and get out of Boston.”

Ornelia Smith, 28, of South Boston, said she likes the efforts to ban backpacks.

“I would feel 100 percent more safe,” she said. “I know security in Boston is very maintained. The rules help everyone stay safe and reduce fear. If someone wanted to do anything, they would probably think twice. It’d be harder now because everyone is more aware of the dangers.”

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