INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) Since the bombing at the Boston Marathon one year ago, major running events like the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon have operated under even stricter security controls.
At setup Friday crews got ready to welcome more than 30,000 people for the Mini-Marathon. Quietly, security teams are making preparations of their own. It’s part of the setup everyday people won’t ever see.
“What goes into this weekend is a lot of preparing — a lot of pre-plans and a lot of reviewing what we did last year,” said Gary Coons, head of Indianapolis Homeland Security.
Coons said security for events this large include far more than just local law enforcement.
“We utilize partners from the state police. We also have partners from the FBI and all the federal agencies that support us on this,” he said.
And security crews ask for citizen support as well. These security measures were added last year and remain in place for this year’s Mini-Marathon. No backpacks or duffel bags are allowed at check stations. Runners can bring the goodie bag they received at packet pickup, but that’s it. Any unattended items spotted by security anywhere on the course will be immediately removed. The post race party at Military Park will be completely fenced in. People will be able to enter and exit only through designated checkpoints.
“We’ve got our plans in place and we’re ready to go,” Coons said.
Coons said adding another big event to the mix — the Indiana Pacers playoff game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 5:30 p.m. — won’t change anything.
“It’s nothing different for us. Like last year we had the [Indy] 500 and the Pacers game [on the same day], so we’re capable of handling both,” Coons said.
Coons stressed that runners and spectators are an important part of security. As usual, everyone is asked to follow this simple strategy: If you see something, say something.