Authorities Say Security Was High But Not Oppressive At First Boston Marathon Since The Bombings
The 118th Boston Marathon took place today amid heavy security a year after the bombings near the race’s finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
State and local police officers were highly visible—even positioned on the rooftops of some buildings. Bomb-sniffing dogs checked trash containers. Spectators had to pass through metal detectors to get to some areas. Authorities said the entire 26.2- mile race course was under video surveillance. Helicopters circled overhead.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson was in Massachusetts Monday to personally oversee the steps that had been taken to protect more than 35,000 runners and approximately one million spectators.
" We are all one team today. It is a remarkable effort of coordination and I am truly impressed by the effort."
Johnson said there were no specific credible threats concerning the marathon.
Officials had promised to strike the right balance with the marathon security plan. They would take every conceivable precaution while at the same time preserving the unique character of the Boston Marathon, which is part international sporting event and part family carnival.
" This is a terrific event and this tradition on this terrific day in Boston will continue. This is a proud tradition that is undiminished," said Johnson.
The commander of the Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben praised race spectators, who he said cooperated with the new security requirements and for the most part refrained from bringing prohibited items such as coolers.
" My experience has been when you ask the public to do something for the sake of public safety they respond in the right way."
And Alben said he heard no complaints about the heightened security.
" I was asking folks what do you see that is different? I've been out there for ten years, and I myself don't notice a great difference."
Authorities could not say if the same level of security would be repeated at next year’s marathon.
Governor Deval Patrick, who spent time Monday at both the start of the marathon in Hopkinton and at the finish on Boylston Street in Boston, said it had been an emotional week in Massachusetts that began with ceremonies April 15th, the actual anniversary of the bombing.
" Our resilience is a thing to behold and it is on display for the whole world but also for each other,"
A total of 35,755 people were registered to participate in the marathon—the second largest field in the 118- year history of the event.