By Eden Laikin
Mineola, NY – Nassau County Police Department officials joined Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano to announce enhanced security measures for the Long Island Marathon Weekend. The 2013 RXR Long Island Marathon Weekend will be held Friday, May 3rd through Sunday, May 5th.
“In light of the tragic events that occurred at the Boston Marathon earlier this month, we have put together an aggressive security plan to ensure the safety of the Long Island Marathon participants, spectators, and all members of our community,” County Executive Mangano said. “These races bring together thousands of runners to compete in the marathon and half-marathon, as well as thousands of friends and family members who line up along the course and gather in Eisenhower Park to lend moral support.”
Mangano said the original marathon security plan has been revised over the last few weeks and the new “comprehensive plan” will “look different from other marathons” in Nassau, in part due to the presence of not only NCPD plain cloths, uniformed, bureau of special operations and homeland security officers, but also state police, emergency management officials, EMS, volunteer fire departments, fire marshall’s office, NICE bus and county physical and mental health professionals.
There will also be electronic signage directing runners, spectators and volunteers and security checkpoints.
Described by Mangano as a “big departure from the past,” only registered participants will be permitted into the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K starting line area on Charles Lindbergh Blvd on Sunday May 5th.
The Islanders playoff game starts at noon on race day. Fans looking to get to the game early should keep in mind that the Meadowbrook Parkway exit ramps to that area will be closed until 10am, when the start of the race should be concluded.
“All these instructions are subject to change or modifications the day of the event,” Mangano said today, urging all interested to check the county’s website before heading to the venue, and check the electronic message boards once there.
Instructions and safety –related issues will only be coming from the NCPD, he said.
Mangano said security for the marathon this year is likely to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars more than previous years.
“The tragedy in Boston was enough evidence for us to take this action,” Mangano said. “We need to expend these dollars, it’s warranted. We’re also using volunteer personnel. But we will use every available personnel to prevent an incident from taking place, while also acting as a deterrent.”
“It’s sad, but it’s necessary to protect against cowardly acts of terrorism, from people who obviously have no regard for human life. It’s the world we live in.”
Many of the enhanced safety measures, Mangano said today, won’t be visible. They include a contingent of plaincloths officers and passive detection devices.
The main element that those running or watching should know is: No outside bags will be permitted either along the race route or at the start or finish lines. See-through plastic bags will be provided by officials at the races and are the only bags that should be carried. Those bags will be inspected at all events.
“There is no reason to bring a bag with you, leave them at home,” Mangano said.
This year, spectators will not be permitted at the starting line, but should arrive early as there will be modified road closures around the start and finish line areas and extra time needed for parking and travel to starting line.
Secondly, all volunteers and runners MUST pick up credentials at the Expo Center located at Mitchel Field on Friday from 3pm to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Any Media representatives must display appropriate police department credentials.
Eisenhower’s Blue (Golf) Course will be closed during race days, Mangano said, and there will be no fireworks to start the race this year.
Other new safety measures to be deployed for the annual event include:
- A large contingent of uniformed police officers will be assigned to detail;
All officers assigned from Nassau County Police Department Homeland Security will have portable radiation detectors;
- All bags and backpacks will be subject to K9 explosive detection;
- All bags will be inspected at the Sports and Fitness Expo on Friday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 4th;
- Participants may only use clear bags at the baggage check which will be provided by race officials at participant check-in;
- Only registered participants will be permitted into the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K starting line area on Charles Lindbergh Blvd on Sunday May 5th.
Any bags or packages found on the ground will be discarded or destroyed. Participants should not place personal items along the race route;
County Executive Mangano, lastly, took the opportunity to remind residents of the County’s “See Something Say Something” Campaign.
“If something or someone seems out of place, please call 911,” he said.