Fast Guard

by Lauren Kostiuk
Illinois Marathon organizers to take extra precautions (WCCU)
Most recent acts of deliberate violence have organizers of public events rethinking approaches for keeping people safe. Even right here in East Central Illinois. 14,000 runners will be taking off through the streets of Champaign and Urbana this weekend for the 10th Annual Illinois Marathon. The Emergency Services Director for the marathon said monitoring such a large event can come with its challenges, especially when it stretches 27 miles. “In our case on race day, at the start where you got 12,000 or 13,000 runners and spectators there at one time, it creates a real concern. So, we want to make sure we have plenty of resources there,” said Scott Freidlein, Emergency Services Coordinator for the Marathon. He said his team of volunteers is more than ready and that includes personnel like Champaign and Urbana Police. Urbana Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald said they’re confident in their security plan. Police will be stationed around the major intersections and the stadium. “We check the course beforehand. We check the course during the event. Anything that becomes suspicious, we act really quick and we get it taken care of,” Lt. Fitzgerald said. The marathon organizers are always improving the plan after learning something new the year before. Every year, volunteers receive extensive training, especially on how to spot suspicious items or behavior. “[They] go out before the race weekend to inspect their intersection so they know what they will be looking at on race weekend,” Freidlein said. “[They] get to the intersection early on race weekend and once they’re there, they evaluate whether there is something there that wasn’t there before.” He said with thousands of people coming to watch, it’s important spectators also know how to exit the marathon loop in case anything happens and how to find the closest shelter or medical tent. If you plan to come out to the marathon or if you plan to avoid crowds, the marathon website can tell you what areas will be the busiest and at what times. It can also tell you where to go for the best viewing spots.


On – 24 Apr, 2018 By Lauren Kostiuk