The New York City Marathon will kick-off Sunday under partly cloudy skies and a heavy blanket of unprecedented airport-like security to protect 45,000 runners traversing 26 miles across the five boroughs.
Police scuba divers have secured bridges from below, harbor police boats will escort ferries bringing runners to the Staten Island starting line, helicopters will be watching from above, and specially trained police with bomb-sniffing dogs will be stationed along the route.
In addition, thousands of advanced technology surveillance cameras – among them dozens that have been installed especially for the day, along with private sector cameras
already in-place that have been drafted into NYPD service – will be keeping watch on the runners and hundreds of thousands of onlookers, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced.
Runners will be screened before being permitted to take their starting positions. Anyone entering the Staten Island starting zone or the finish area in Manhattan's Central Park will be screened.
Persons with special access to secure areas such as organizers and volunteers will have been pre-screened in addition to the physical screening they will receive on Sunday, according to the NYPD
Marathon runners, their families and marchers have been told not to wear vests or bring a range of items including backpacks and backpack-style canteens to the race. The New York Road Runners, organizers of the marathon, will provide clear bags and plenty of extra water bottles.
Speaking of the unprecedented security measures, Mary Wittenberg, the chief executive of New York Road Runners told The New York Times, "I think we've found a new normal coming after Boston."
There are no specific threats, according to Kelly.
Militants have, however, threatened revenge
for Friday's U.S. airstrike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
The militants who carried out the attack on the Boston Marathon in April, which killed three people and wounded some 260, said they did it as payback
for the U.S. war on terror in Muslim lands.
The marathon is expected to raise up to $14 million for charity, the Times reported. Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of last year's race.
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