U.S. bans bags in Boston Marathon for security

Three people were killed in a bombing at the marathon in 2013

The Boston Athletic Association, BAA, on Thursday, announced that this year’s Boston Marathon will have a “no bags” policy as part of stepped-up security following last year’s deadly bombing.

The association added that this year, runners would not be allowed to bring backpacks or bags, which would also not be allowed in certain areas near the start or finish line, or along the 26.2-mile course.

“Runners will be given a chance to check gear on Boston Common on the morning of the marathon to allow them to have a change of clothing at the end of the race,” the association said.

The athletic association said it would provide clear plastic bags for that purpose.

Twin bombs placed in backpacks near the finish line, in 2013, killed three people and injured more than 260 in 2013.

Prosecutors said two spectators were responsible; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, who is awaiting trial and faces the possibility of the death penalty on 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction, and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following a gun battle with police several days after the marathon.

BAA said that state, local and federal law enforcement officials have been meeting for months to prepare a stringent security plan for this year’s April 21 marathon.

“The new rules were outlined in an email sent by the athletic association to registered runners,” it stated.

The state’s Undersecretary for Public Safety, Kurt Schwart, said officials were trying to maintain the excitement of the marathon, while at the same time ensuring the safety of the thousands of participants and spectators.

“It will still feel like a great day and it will be a great day. We are going to strike a good balance between public safety and security, and ensuring that this is a festive event like it had always been,” Mr. Schwartz said.

The BAA said that unregistered runners, known as “bandits,” who traditionally jump into the race at various points along the course, would be strictly prohibited this year.

(Reuters/NAN)


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