Scuba divers, bomb-sniffing dogs safeguard route at NYC marathon

A security guard and bomb sniffing dog patrol the area near the finish line of the New York City Marathon in New York's Central park November 1, 2013. Security is expected to be tight Sunday November 3, when more than 45,000 runners will compete in the 2013 New York City Marathon which was not run in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. Credit: Reuters
A security guard and bomb sniffing dog patrol the area near the finish line of the New York City Marathon in New York’s Central Park.
Credit: Reuters

In addition to cheering supporters, runners in this Sunday’s New York City Marathon will also be monitored by bomb-sniffing dogs, police scuba divers and surveillance helicopters to prevent an attack similar to the one at the Boston race earlier this year.

The New York Police Department started planning its extra precautions a day after the deadly April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three and injured 264, said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

“We are well equipped and well deployed,” said Kelly.

Taking a lesson from Boston authorities who identified two brothers suspected of setting off the bombs through footage from private security cameras, New York is using 1,400 private sector surveillance cameras at locations ranging from dry cleaners to art museums in addition to the 6,000 city-owned cameras police already monitor.

Nearly every inch of the 26.2-mile (42.2-km) route will be covered, with police helicopters filming from above and vans from the street, he said.

As Kelly spoke to reporters, live feeds from cameras focused from the race start on the Verrazano Bridge to the finish line near Columbus Circle flashed on hundreds of screens stacked from floor to ceiling on the headquarters’ joint command center’s walls.

At the 43rd annual New York City Marathon on Sunday, several thousand police officers patrolling the route will carry handheld radiation scanners, Kelly said.

Forty-three bomb sniffing dogs will be stationed at start and finish lines, NYPD Chief of the Counterterrorism Bureau James Waters said.

And since Friday, scuba divers have been scouring the seabed for any sign of explosives beneath the five bridges that 48,000 runners will cross.

The New York Road Runners, which organizes the race, spent $1 million on security consultants to strengthen its policies for athletes. For the first time, runners aren’t allowed to wear masks, backpacks, vests with large pockets or CamelBaks, water-filled backpacks with an over-the-shoulder drinking tube.

Tightened security at the finish line – where the bombs at the Boston race were planted – means large packages are banned and rolled up blankets must be carried unfurled.

STORM CANCELED RACE LAST YEAR

Last year, for the first time in the history of the New York City Marathon, the race was canceled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated areas of New York on October 29, 2012.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg initially pushed for the race to go on, but ultimately bowed to public outcry and pulled the plug about 36 hours before the race – although thousands of runners from around the globe had already traveled to New York. The episode still haunts Road Runner President Mary Wittenberg, who this year vowed to increase communication with runners.

Runners registered for the 2012 race were allowed to get a refund or roll over their entry fees with guaranteed admission to the 2013, 2014 or 2015 races. After paying out refunds and donating $1 million to Sandy relief efforts, the Road Runners went into $4 million debt this year. The group said it used cash reserves to cover the deficit, but would not comment on the revenues it expects to earn this year.

The marathon generated $340 million for the city in 2010, the most recent figures available, according to a report commissioned by the group.

Joe Bencivenga of Long Island, a four-time New York City Marathon runner who was registered to run last year, said he was disappointed when he first heard the 2012 event was canceled.

“But then we saw the devastation, especially on Staten Island, and we understood – it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do,” said Bencivenga.

Last year’s letdown, this year’s Boston Marathon bombings and his rigorous six months of training for this year’s marathon felt like a “roller coaster,” he said.

“Now we’re just ecstatic for Sunday,” Bencivenga said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…