Grandma's Marathon Amps Up Security

Posted at: 06/20/2013 4:38 PM
Updated at: 06/21/2013 12:05 AM
By: Maarja Anderson

Runners and spectators alike will notice a few changes in policy at this year's Grandma's Marathon events.

Thursday afternoon Duluth Police set up message boards near the finish line reminding the public to report any suspicious activity.

Runners picking up their race packets at the DECC Thursday said they noticed a few new changes.

"We've gotten emails about how we can only have certain bags and their subject to being checked," said Margo Haynes who is running the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.

"She actually looked at the photo ID and then looked at me to verify I was who I said I was," said Grandma's Marathon runner Ben Fornear. "So that was a little different but that's the only thing so far."

Bob Gustafson, the public relations director with Grandma's Marathon, said the Boston Marathon bombing had them take another look at their policies.

"Unfortunately, the events on April 15th did change the way we look at things and did change the way we have to move forward," said Gustafson.

Gustafson said the two major changes for runners are at the race packet pick-up and at the start line.

When picking up their race packets, runners must show a photo ID along with their official confirmation from Grandma's.

"The other thing will be at the start line," said Gustafson. "The only bags we are going to allow onto our transport trucks is the official gear bag that the runners recieve at race packet pick-up," said Gustafson.

Spectators can expect a larger security presence around the finish line, too. Gustafson said they are also relying on the public's help, asking if you see something, say something.

"Regardless of what it is, if they see something that seems to be amiss, to let somebody know," said Gustafson.

A few additional measures, but Gustafson encourages spectators to come down and cheer for their favorite runners like they always do, just be aware there will be a little extra security.