Security meeting held for Long Island Marathon after Boston bombings

April 18, 2013 3:29:52 AM PDT
Nassau County officials met on Wednesday to discuss security preparations for the upcoming Long Island Marathon.

In a command center set aside for the most serious of emergencies, Nassau County authorities, state police, the FBI, shared their intelligence, determined to use lessons from Boston to protect marathoners on Long Island.

"We have no reason to believe it won't be as safe as it was in the past," said Ed Mangano, Nassau County Executive, "You celebrate America by coming out to these events you defeat terrorist by participating in events like this."

For more than four decades, the RXR Long Island Marathon has wound its way through Nassau County.

And on Sunday, May 4th, thousands will set off from the Nassau Coliseum, make their way to the north shore, and then down to Wantagh, before returning to Eisenhower Park.

That's where Wednesday, race coordinators measured out the route and rethought their plans to keep people safe.

David Katz is the race's technical director.

"What happened in Boston that was because of something that was in a bag so we'll be checking bags, we're going to be much more diligent. We're looking at all different aspects of the event to make sure people coming to the event feel that much more secure and comfortable," Katz said.

Runners will no longer be allowed to bring their own bags. Instead, they'll get a clear plastic bag to place their belongings in, which will be waiting for them at the finish.

While Katz says the priority is to guard against a potential copycat attack, authorities also have to strike a balance and maintain the spirit of one of Nassau County's most celebrated sporting events.

"This is a celebration of the human spirit, whether you're a participant or you're watching. So we want to do everything we can to increase that love of life," Katz said.

Last year, about 6,600 runners participated in the race that began in 1973. Mangano says 5,100 have signed up this year.

Mangano also reminded residents to participate in the "See Something Say Something" campaign.