(WTNH) -- Thousands of runners, fans and volunteers are gearing up for Saturday's ING Hartford Marathon. The marathon is all about fun and competition, but after the event in Boston just months ago, security is also a top priority.
"Unfortunately, with the stuff in Boston, it changed the landscape of how we plan and prepare for any type of event," said Lt. Brian Foley, Hartford Police.
It's not just a lot of out-of-town runners descending on Connecticut for the 20th edition of the Hartford Marathon.
"When people come down to the park they're going to see a lot of cops, basically a cop on every corner," said Lt. Foley. "You'll see federal entities, military entities, people from the state, local, you'll see N.Y.P.D."
That's just one way security is hitting a sprint, but there's only so much officials are divulging.
"There's nothing, really, that I can share on that, but, yeah, there's new measures this year," said Josh Miller, Hartford Marathon tech director.
Spectators need to be mindful of what they bring, in addition to the will to cheer the runners on.
"It's difficult to say that: 'no backpacks or anything like that,' so there's not a lot of changes other than what the Hartford Marathon's going to accept at their bag checks," Lt. Foley said. "They have clear bags they're issuing to people, and they'll accept the bags there to hold."
One thing that hasn't changed is the race course, but that does mean the inevitable road closures. After all, they don't want any wrong turns of a more benign kind either.
"If you see our course maps on our website, police officers will be positioned for the race start," Miller said, "but the roads will be open until they have to close at about 8 o'clock."
So, even if things have to run a little bit differently, no one wants to change how things roll.
"I would not like to have to have a "Hartford Strong" campaign because of something that happened," said Steve Goddard, Hartford resident.
"You just have to be strong and don't let anybody scare you," said marathoner Theresa Vu.
The marathon, and the half-marathon, begin at 8:00 a.m. Saturday on Capitol Avenue by the State Capitol, but some roads around the Capitol will be closed beginning as early as 9:00 a.m. today. Some exits from I-91, I-84 and Route 2 will also be closed on race day.
If you're a fan and want to watch, race organizers say these are the best sports to watch the race:
- Start – Capitol Avenue in front of the CT State Capitol
- Mile 2 – Pearl Street, Hartford
- Mile 4 – Riverfront Plaza at the Founders Bridge, Hartford
- Mile 8.5 (Half) – St. Mary’s House, 275 Steele Road, West Hartford
- Mile 10 (Half) – Elizabeth Park Rose Garden, West Hartford
- Mile 14 –Old Main Street & Chapel Road, South Windsor
- Mile 20 – Old Main Street & Pleasant Valley Road, South Windsor
- Mile 25 Riverfront Plaza at the Founders Bridge, Hartford
- Mile 26 – Under the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch at Bushnell Park
For more information visit hartfordmarathon.com.
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