Blue Ridge Marathon Sees Increased Security
Roanoke, VA - Locally people are still very concerned about what took place in Boston. Those explosions happened more than 600 miles from Roanoke, but it was enough to cause local law enforcement to beef up security at this year's Blue Ridge Marathon.
This race last year, for the most part, saw that security was pretty relaxed. Now fast forward to this year, it was very noticeable that every step had been taken to make sure the race went off without a hitch.
Despite the events in Boston being on the hearts' of everyone in attendance, some say, this year's Blue Ridge Marathon, was one of the best ever.
It was clear that local law enforcement worked very hard to ensure everyone's safety.
"I've definitely seen a lot of security here today," said Ashley Nogueira, who attended the marathon.
"About 85 uniformed officers were utilized. Normally we would have 17-20 on a normal Blue Ridge Marathon Day," said Tim Jones, Deputy Chief of Police Operations for Roanoke.
Before you were able to make it to the finish line, you likely would have already run into at least one of those 85 officers.
"They checked our purses and everything before we came in," said Nogueira.
"We utilized the helicopter resources from Virginia State Police this morning to make sure the race got off to a good start," said Jones.
In addition to the increased security, officials decided to replace all trash cans on the race area. Instead they replaced them with clear trash bags, so nothing could be hidden inside.
"Our main concern was the safety of both the participants and the spectators," said Jones.
2 hours, 39 minutes, and 45 seconds after the marathon started, Jeff Powers crossed the finish line first.
"To be out here and alive and to be able to do it so shortly after the Boston Marathon is a privilege," said Powers.
The Roanoke Police department says the entire event went very smoothly. They did receive a few calls for bags that were left unattended. The say all of them were mistakenly left by their owner, and each time the owner quickly returned to claim them.