BOSTON (WPRI) — Runners from every U.S. state and 95 countries will take part in the 121st Boston Marathon this coming Monday, and authorities continue to maintain tight security from previous years. The newest technology in surveillance, including tethered drones, is among the measures police are taking to keep everyone safe.
More than 30,000 runners are set to take the course, and one million spectators are expected to stretch from Hopkinton to the finish line on Boylston Street.
Both uniformed and plain-clothed officers will be lining the 26.2-mile route. Friday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh encouraged spectators to avoid driving and use public transportation exclusively on Monday, as well as this weekend, since there are several marathon-related events scheduled.
Despite the comprehensive safety plan, there’s no credible threat to the 2017 marathon, according to Walsh.
“We’re working closely and sharing information with the FBI and our intelligence community – locally and internationally – as well as working with the state, MBTA police, and other local authorities along the route,” he explained.
“And I want to make it clear at this time: there are no credible threats to this event at all,” Walsh added.
The safety plan includes rules similar to NFL game day stadium rules. Take belongings in a clear plastic bag. Backpacks are barred from the area, as well as over-the-shoulder bags, suitcases, and coolers.
Cans or any containers that could hold more than a liter of liquid are prohibited, as well as blankets, comforters and sleeping bags (but the weather is expected to be warm, so you’re not likely to need them).
For the first time this year, drones will be overhead at the starting line, giving a new level of security to runners and spectators, with the intent of scanning crowds and detecting any threats. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will be running the unit, titled the “Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance Communications Drone.” It can remain in the air for the entire marathon, and view about a mile and a half away; it can also zoom in on a moving target and follow it if necessary.
Despite this new drone being used by officials, the race is classified as a “no drone zone” for amateurs. Spectators are being asked to leave their own drones at home.