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What You May, Or May Not See At The Houston Marathon, But It Is There

Runners and spectators attending the Chevron Houston Marathon can expect changes due to construction along the route. Organizers say there will be added security as well.

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With 25,000 runners and an estimated crowd of 250,000 cheering them on, security for the city’s biggest outdoor sporting event has been heightened. It will also be the first Houston Marathon since the tragedy at the Boston Marathon last April that killed three and injured more than 260 people.

Houston Police Assistant Chief Mark Eisenman says good or bad, lessons are learned from any big event.

“We learn every year, so the public can expect to see maybe a little greater police presence. We’ve been planning this event for months. We have the resources to do it, not only within the Houston Police Department, but the Houston Fire Department as well as our federal state and local partners. We work very well together, and we’re looking forward to a good, safe, fun event.”

His team of HPD and other law enforcement officers have long prepared for this weekend’s events to make it almost seem routine.

“Really, what the public is going to see is probably just the increased uniform presence in some key areas, but there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, as there always is. With any major event, whether it be NBA All-Star, Final-Four, Super Bowl type events, World Series, we always do a lot of planning, and you see the significant police presence.”

Wade Morehead is executive director of the Chevron Houston Marathon.

He says the event won’t look or feel much different for runners and fans, but the biggest change will be a new starting point at Congress near the criminal courthouse, and partially new routes for both the half and full marathons.

“Well as you know, Houston is bustling and has been very successful economically. The development of our roads, the projects by Public Works to improve our roads, new hotels, convention center expansions, all of these play a factor in what we can do and how we can develop a course that’s going to go 26.2 miles without being interrupted, and we’re restricted. The streets of Houston aren’t necessarily as wide as you find in some other cities.”

Discovery Green will be fenced off and Morehead says everyone entering the park carrying anything other than a Marathon-issued clear plastic bag will be subject to a security check.

“We want to make sure that we find that happy balance between doing our due diligence and everything necessary to provide a safe event, and make sure that public safety officials can do what they do, and at the same time, not hamper the runners. It’s an exciting day for them. It’s dark in the morning. It’s 5. They’re going to get in. They want to get stretched and get acclimated, find their friends, get to the crowds and enjoy one of the most memorable days of their life.”

The marathon course will follow Memorial Drive instead of Woodway before coming into downtown on Allen Parkway.

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