2016-10-26 / Front Page

Tight Security To Rule 2016 Marathon

By Liz Goff
Runners participating in the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will once again find themselves running without “CamelBaks” – hydration backpacks filled with water as they mark their way along the annual 26-mile, 385-yard trek through the five boroughs on November 6.

Security measures put in place after the 2013 terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded more than 260 continue to call for a series of “don’ts” at the annual New York City race. Security will be ramped up even further at this year’s race, following last summer’s terror-linked bomb blast in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, law enforcement sources said.

The rules will affect the more than 55,000 runners expected to participate in the 2016 marathon – as well as volunteers and spectators who annually cheer on the runners from the sidelines.

A list of items that remain banned by marathon sponsor TCS, The New York Road Runners Club, the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies along the route includes all backpacks, handbags, purses and tote bags, strollers, skateboards, bicycles, watered backpacks (CamelBaks), containers larger than 1 liter, vests with pockets, bulky costumes, face masks and markings that cover the face and any bulky, non-formfitting outfits extending “beyond the perimeter of the body.”

In other words, if you were planning to join the race or the spectators dressed as Superman, go right ahead. But if you were planning to go as a gorilla, you might as well stay at home. Police said the rules would apply to the runners, volunteers and spectators who might decide to show up wearing a costume. “Here’s a suggestion to those people. Go home and change clothes before you head out to cheer on your personal runner, the source said.

Officials released what is described as a partial, preliminary list of items banned at the 2016 Marathon and said they expect to expand the list before the November 6 race.

Children under 12 are not permitted along the route unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Again, strollers are banned from the route, so parents must carry infants and toddlers.

Youths 16-years and younger must have a note signed by their parent or guardian to gain access to the spectator route. The notes will be checked and verified by a team of five Station Support Volunteers from New York Road Runners.

Perhaps the most significant change for local residents is a requirement that volunteers must register beforehand to work at fluid stations (watering stations) that line the marathon route.

In prior years, local residents were able to sign up to volunteer with community or civic organizations that sponsor the watering stations. That’s all changed in 2015, and volunteers must pre-register to receive personalized credentials from New York Road Runners.

A team of the new Station Support volunteers will be at each watering station, working with local captains to help things run smoothly. The team members will deal with walk-ups, last-minute volunteers who did not register – who will be turned away.

The team will check everyone, in and out of the stations and spectator areas and will hand out credentials to approved volunteers.

Remember, volunteers will be turned away on the day of the race if they die not pre-register and receive personalized credentials from the New York Road Runners Club.

Law enforcement sources said additional security measures would be installed at “sensitive locations” throughout the marathon route, including the 13.5-mile mark at 43rd Avenue and Crescent Street in Long Island City (at the foot of the Queensborough Bridge) and at other locations near bridges and tunnels.

“I believe it’s safe to say that the Finish Line will be locked up and secured in advance of the race to secure the safety of runners, spectators and others working at the site,” a top-ranking NYPD official said. “We plan to provide a safe, secure environment where everyone can enjoy the race and cheer on the runners.”

Sources said city cops and members of the Joint Terrorist Task Force would seal manhole covers, mailboxes and wastebaskets along the route in the days preceding the race. “It’s really nothing new to these folks,” law enforcement sources said. “They go in, take care of business and leave the area without fanfare on a regular basis.”

The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will require more than 55,000 medals and more than 80,000 T-shirts, 2,500 blankets, 730 tubes of K-Y Jelly, 35,500 Mylar blankets, 1,560 stretchers, 45 medical units, 1 major field hospital, more than 10.000 volunteers, 1,550 Marshals, 3,500 Police Officers, hundreds of computers, 300 buses, 18,000 yards of barricade tape, 115,000 safety pins, 21,000 feet of rope, 700 portable toilets, 500 six-foot tables, 10,000 feet of snow fencing, 2,000 medical volunteers, more than 40,000 cups of coffee, 4 tons of ice, 2 ½ tons of bagels, almost 199,000 bottles of water, 337 banners, 3,193 pounds of Trail Mix, 60,000 Milky Way Bars and more than 60,000 pairs of sneakers.

The marathon runs each year through a watering station at 43rd Avenue and Crescent Street in Long Island City, where more than 200 local volunteers cheer-on runners and keep them hydrated, marathon captain Gerald Walsh said. The station has been sponsored and operated for 34-years by the Dutch Kills Civic Association of Long Island City, Walsh said.

Walsh, a former president of the civic group, said he and his volunteers would offer fresh fruit, bottled water and other beverages to runners as they pass through the halfway mark in the most prestigious marathon in the world.

The civic group will work with the Station Support team and local law enforcement officials to comply with new security measures, Walsh explained.

“A tremendous amount of work goes into operating the watering station each year,” Walsh said. “We are foremost concerned with making the event a safe, pleasant, fun day for the runners and spectators. We’ll leave security to the experts, the NYPD and other agencies that look out for our safety every day of every year,” Walsh said.

The race also calls for 290 gallons of “Marathon Blue” paint, computer generated numbers for each runner, 65 domestic race directors, 95 foreign race officials and a sea of blue uniforms – police officers who line the path of the race, directing traffic, keeping the surging crowd in check and, in a few cases, cheering-on members of the NYPD who are running in the 2015 New York City Marathon.

And for the record, those 60,000 Milky Way bars add up to a total of 12,735,000 calories. “Calories for fleet feet,” a marathon spokesperson said.

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