Kansas City Marathon poses security challenges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With 12,000 runners and 30,000 fans packing a 26.2-mile open-air course through Kansas City, Saturday's marathon is a security nightmare—but one organizers are confident they're prepared for.

"We have a plan in place and we're very comfortable we can respond to anything that might occur," Captain Mike Wood said, the KCPD's lead traffic officer who also works with race planners.

Securing the course began Friday morning as no-parking signs sprouted along the route. In the pre-dawn hours before the race begins, streets along the route will be closed then slowly reopened as the race moves on.

Wood told 41 Action News more than 100 KCPD officers would be working security along the route, but declined to discuss operational details of the security plan. He said the KCPD had not introduced any new elements to its security plan following the Boston Marathon bombings this spring.

"We do so many of these [races] that we just know what it takes to handle them as safely as possible," Wood said.

Race organizer Cathy Nelson, the President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission, said there would be one noticeable security difference for runners this year – a best practice adopted after Boston and already in use by the NFL.

Runners leaving personal clothing or items at the starting line will be required to use clear plastic bags distributed by race organizers. No backpacks, purses or other bags will be allowed.

"We kind of learned best practices from that race in particular and from other runs around the country and what are they doing," Nelson said. "We're working very closely with local authorities with that different feel."

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