Security high for Bloomsday race in Spokane
In light of the Boston Marathon bombing, participants in the Spokane event were asked to report anything suspicious to officers or volunteers.
Bloomsday is expected to attract more than 50,000 runners, making it the nation's second-largest timed road race. Participants will be given bracelets that say, "Spokane Stands with Boston."
A joint security effort has been created in Spokane that includes local, state and federal agencies to keep the 12-kilometer race fun and safe, Police Chief Frank Straub said Tuesday.
Authorities said there's nothing to indicate any threats to Bloomsday.
"You have to remember that this is a 36-year event that has always been a safe event," Straub said. "All we're doing is tweaking it and adding a few assets."
The department will use two helicopters for patrol -- one from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office and one from the Office of Air and Marine, a Department of Homeland Security agency. Uniformed and plain-clothed Spokane officers and deputies will patrol on the ground, he said.
A bomb squad will be working throughout the race as well.
Lilac Bloomsday Association directors said runners and walkers will be required to display official race tags before lining up to run. Unregistered family members and friends will not be able to join runners in the lineup.
Backpacks and gym bags will not be allowed on the course. Instead of carrying extra layers of clothing, runners should wear disposable sweaters and jackets to stay warm during the chilly morning hours, Straub said.
"It's supposed to be an absolutely beautiful day from a weather standpoint," Straub said. "The bottom line here is to go out and have fun."
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