RUN RETURNS: New York City Marathon Goes Smoothly
(CNN) — After a one-year hiatus, the New York City Marathon returns Sunday with a different priority: security.
Discussions about running times and numbers were put in the back burner. Officials shifted focus to numbers of a different kind: security cameras, bomb-sniffing dogs, baggage screenings and surveillance helicopters.
The 47,000 runners will race through five boroughs for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombing, which left three people dead and more than 260 injured in April.
Major cities revamped security in the aftermath, and the New York City Marathon followed suit.
At least 1,500 cameras positioned along the route will help boost security, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Bomb-sniffing dogs and scuba divers will scan bridges and shorelines while counterterrorism officers will escort ferries carrying runners.
“Prior to taking their starting positions on Staten Island, runners will be screened and their bags inspected,” the New York Police Department said in a statement. “The New York Road Runners has provided the participants with clear bags to expedite this process.”
Two brothers — one now dead and the other facing charges — are suspected of planting two bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line. At least one of the bombs was hidden inside a backpack.
In New York, spectators watching from grandstands and family reunion areas will be subject to baggage inspections and screenings as a precaution.
“The safety of runners and spectators has always been our highest priority,” New York Road Runners, the organizers of the event, said in a statement.
Runners are taking it in stride.
“It will obviously cause some problems for us, but that doesn’t matter,” said Runar Gundersen, who will be running his 35th New York marathon this year. “Security must come first, so I gladly accept delays … I think most runners do.”
Organizers said a lot of additional security measures will be taking place in the background.
“I know that it’s impossible to protect 26.2 miles of road 100%,” Gundersen said. “The feeling about that is much like it was in 2001 after 9/11.”
Last year’s New York City Marathon was canceled because of damage from Superstorm Sandy.