Tight security for Seaside Heights, New Jersey race 1 year after bombing

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Marcus Solis reports on the Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Heights.

A Marine Corps charity race in New Jersey marred by terrorism a year ago was held under heightened security Saturday.

Authorities say Ahmad Khan Rahimi planted a pipe bomb at the race in Seaside Park, New Jersey and later carried out bombings in Chelsea.

On Saturday, massive security measures were in place as the Seaside Semper Five race took place in neighboring Seaside Heights.

Enforcement officers checked the route to ensure safety for the participants and thousands of people attending.

Over 2,000 runners from 32 countries took part. There was roughly one law enforcement officer for every ten runners, organizers say.

For this year's race, trash cans were removed along the race route in Seaside Heights and manhole covers sealed.

The increase in runners comes as both a response to the bombing and shows people's support for the military, said race organizer Frank Costello.

Several hours after the New Jersey blast a year ago, another bomb exploded in Chelsea, wounding 29 people.

The next night, a homeless man and his friend alerted authorities after they found a backpack full of explosives in a trash can near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Five devices were in the bag, including one that exploded while a bomb squad robot attempted to disarm it.

Rahimi, an Afghanistan-born man living in Elizabeth, was arrested the next morning after he was seriously injured in a shootout with police in Linden.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the bombings and is being held without bail while awaiting his trial , which is scheduled to start Oct. 2.

No one was injured in the Seaside Park explosion, mostly because the start of the race had been delayed because of a large number of late entrants, or by the devices found in Elizabeth. But the situation frightened many in a region where the Sept. 11 attacks still reverberate strongly.

Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage, a Democrat, said there's "definitely a heightened sense of awareness," even though no similar incidents have occurred in the past year.

"Garbage cans, autos can now be used for very dangerous missions, where in the past no one would have given a second thought about them," he said. "It's scary for many people, but it's made them more vigilant."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Related Topics:
terrorismbombingahmad khan rahamiahmad khan rahimiSeaside Heights
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