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Salt Lake City Marathon organizers increasing security for race

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – With nerves already frayed from the bombing in Boston, questions have come up about safety at the Salt Lake City Marathon this weekend. Could there be a repeat of what happened in Boston in Salt Lake City? And is it safe to run?
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – With nerves already frayed from the bombing in Boston, questions have come up about safety at the Salt Lake City Marathon this weekend. Could there be a repeat of what happened in Boston in Salt Lake City? And is it safe to run?

Salt Lake City Marathon organizers tell ABC 4 the race will be safe, but they are increasing security to ensure protection for spectators and runners.

For many people seeing horrific images like those from Monday in Boston may be tough to watch, that includes organizers of the Salt Lake City Marathon.

"Our runners are obviously shaken by the incidents as the entire world is," said Steve Bingham, Salt Lake City Director.

Marathon Director Steve Bingham said because of the Boston bombings his staff is taking extra caution for Saturday's race.

"I think that's its only prudent that we do that considering what has happened in Boston," said Bingham.

Bingham said if you attend the Salt Lake City Marathon this weekend, you'll like notice several changes. For example, more police will be manning the course.

"It's impossible to secure 26 miles but we're doing our best to have key areas focused on," he said.

Bingham mentioned those areas include the starting gate, finish line and several spots along the course.

Another change, limits what spectators can bring. Because the Boston bombs were placed in backpacks, Salt Lake City Marathon organizers are asking everyone to leave bags at home.

"Given how the explosions were put in Boston, we don't need people bringing lots of backpacks and large purses for things," he said.

Two photos sent to WHDH in Boston show a bag left relatively near the finish line, although not confirmed, the “after” photo of the same area leads some to believe it may have been the cause of one of the explosions.

The last stretch of the Salt Lake City Marathon runs through a tiny neighborhood on 600 E., before finishing in Liberty Park.

"There are several places in the area someone could drop a backpack and no one would notice, you probably didn't even spot this backpack that was sitting next to the traffic signal, that's why marathon organizers want everyone to be on alert," said Reporter Brian Carlson.

"At the airport you don't leave your stuff hanging out on its own, right? You keep it close to you. We're asking folks to do the same and if you don't have to bring anything, even better," said Bingham.

For people are worried about attending the marathon Bingham advises he is confident the race will be safe even though security changes are necessary. He encourages people to bring their hands, bring their smiles and cheer on the runners.

“We need people cheering runners at the finish line,” Bingham said.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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