SPOKANE, Wash. -- Last year, Bloomsday organizers had just two weeks to re-group on their security plan following the bombings at the Boston Marathon. This year, 2 On Your Side looked into whether those measures would still be in place for the 2014 edition of Bloomsday.
In 2013, Bloomsday organizers reacted within a two-week window of the bombings, tightening security and getting the word out on a ‘no-backpack’ rule. Spokane Police brought in bomb-sniffing dogs and had SWAT on standby and a helicopter overhead.
This year, police plan an equal effort along the route.
SPD and Bloomsday board members have spent all year organizing. Board members said the Boston Marathon has forever changed security at running events.
"We're concerned about those big concentrations of people that could be a potential target for somebody who wanted to disrupt or injure people in the race,” said Al Odenthal, Bloomsday Board member. “So the police department's been working with us throughout the year on the plan and we're in concert this year probably more-so than ever."
Bloomsday organizers do not want backpacks, large bags, or even camelback hydration systems. Small fanny packs are encouraged, however, as long as they are not large ones.
To ensure runners stay hydrated, there will be a number of water aid stations supplying about 400,000 cups on the course for the 50,000 thousand participants. That works out to about eight cups per runner but officials say there is no limit on water for participants.
Organizers also warned that last year, there were a lot of miscellaneous items found like drivers' licenses, keys, and other items that fell out of runners’ pockets.