Security at the 38th annual Marine Corps Marathon this weekend will be tighter than it has been in the past, in part due to the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April that killed three and injured an estimated 180 others.
"After our friends in Boston experienced such a tragic day, we wanted to do the best we could for our own event," marathon spokeswoman Tami Faram told Patch. "Boston is on our mind, but we wanted to have a very comprehensive and robust security plan for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is what we've always had."
Hydration backpacks and vests are banned this year. Halloween masks — discouraged in the past for safety reasons — will not be allowed, either, and expect enforcement of that to be upgraded this year. If runners want to paint their faces, that's still OK. Field belts will be allowed, too.
Runners will be required to bring their items in clear plastic bags in an effort to speed up the screening process. They are allowed to bring a personal supply of fluids, though all items are subject to search.
Participants also are being asked to "actively observe" their surroundings, according to the marathon website.
Marathon organizers work with seven different law enforcement agencies and numerous first-responders and other organizations, including the National Park Service and the U.S. Capitol Police. The Arlington County Police Department is the lead law enforcement agency for the event.
Law enforcement will have "more of a presence," in terms of uniformed officers and those in plain clothes, and dogs will be out on the course and other places that might not be visible to casual spectators, Faram said.
Some added security measures already were in place for the Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg that was held May, about a month after the Boston tragedy.
"We just did a reexamination after Boston of all of our events," Faram said, "just thinking about public events, and running, and all we can do to better the security of our runners and spectators. It made sense to do that."
About 30,000 people are registered for the Marine Corps Marathon, representing all 50 states and 48 countries.
The 26.2-mile run starts on Route 110 in Arlington, between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, and ends at the Marine Corps War Memorial.