Following the Boston Marathon bombing, runners looking forward to participating in this year's BolderBOULDER quickly spoke out about participating despite increased fears about terrorism and "soft targets."
Nonetheless, security for the event has been beefed up.
CU-Boulder Police spokesman Ryan Huff has the details. See them below, along with vintage photos from BolderBOULDERs through the years.
This year's BolderBOULDER takes place on Memorial Day, May 27, across a wide swath of Boulder, with the finish line in its traditional location, Folsom Field on the CU-Boulder campus. Huff says the most visible changes most attendees and participants will notice are bag searches at the stadium and an increased police presence.
From the BoulderBOULDER Facebook page.
"I can't really detail the numbers," Huff notes, "but I can say it will be larger than in years past."
As for other measures, Huff maintains that "there are also a lot of behind-the-scenes things we're going to be doing that, by design, we're not sharing with the public. But there will be multiple operations going on to make this the safest event possible."
Planning for the BolderBOULDER has been taking place for "months and months," Huff stresses. "But after Boston, every police department across the country looked at how they managed large events, and we're no different in that sense. There are a lot of scenarios you have to be prepared for."
A plus for the CU-Boulder police: Officers got a chance to try out some of the new approaches at last Friday's commencement ceremony -- a high-profile event thanks to this year's speaker, actress Julie Andrews.
"We did a similar bag screening there," Huff says, "and we found it to be pretty effective. We didn't have backups in the lines and we didn't really hear complaints from people. I think the public understands that at least for the time being, this is a new reality for large events."
Granted, the events aren't on the same scale. "The attendance at commencement was roughly 15,000," Huff points out. "The BolderBOULDER will be much larger. We typically see about 50,000 runners sign up. Then add however many family members and others might come to the stadium and you'll certainly have a crowd in the tens of thousands. I don't know if they'll all be in the stadium at the same time, but if everyone finishes the race, you should have 50,000 people coming through.
"The crowds are different," he acknowledges. "With commencement, it's an early morning event that has a lot of families and lasts for two to three hours, whereas the BolderBOULDER is a longer event with multiple sites. You have the start of the race, the course, the finish, the expo...."
With that in mind, Huff asks attendees for assistance in two specific areas. "We're asking people to be very careful not to leave their bags laying around. You should treat this like an airport. If you leave your bag unattended, it will be confiscated very quickly. So help us out by having your bags in your possession at all times."
Additionally, he goes on, "if the public sees something suspicious -- a person or a bag or anything -- please let us know right away by calling 911 or approaching a law enforcement officer. We need the help of the public to make sure this is a safe event."
Look below to see classic photos of the BolderBOULDER shared on the event's Facebook page as well as the CU-Boulder Police release about security measures and a list of prohibited items for those at Folsom Field.
CU-Boulder Police release:
Increased security measures announced for BolderBOULDER
Race organizers from the BolderBOULDER, the Boulder Police Department and the University of Colorado Police Department are asking the public to cooperate with additional security measures that will be in place for the May 27 Memorial Day run.
Race participants and spectators will notice an increased law enforcement and emergency services presence along the 10-kilometer course.
Organizers ask the public for their patience and cooperation with the new rules.
Police request that participants and spectators refrain from bringing backpacks or other bags to the race. If people must bring bags, please pack lightly and keep them in your possession at all times. "Airport rules" will apply, and any unattended bags along the course or at Folsom Field will be subject to confiscation.
On race day, the public is asked to immediately report any suspicious activity or people by calling 9-1-1.
"We realize that the recent events in Boston have created some extra concern for people, and we want to reassure everyone that the Boulder and CU police departments and race organizers are working together to make this event as safe and enjoyable as possible," said Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner. "We have comprehensive security plans in place. We will not be discussing details or specifics of those plans."
The public will also see an increased law enforcement presence at the race's finish at CU's Folsom Field. For spectators bringing items into the stadium, football game rules will apply. That includes only allowing soft-sided bags smaller than 12x12x12 (such as small purses and backpacks) inside Folsom Field. For a full list of permitted and prohibited items, please see the Folsom Field rules.
"The bag checks will be one of the evident changes seen by the public," said Joe Roy, CU police chief. "But our police departments have added other security measures that will not be obvious to the public, by design, to enhance safety."
The police departments and BolderBOULDER appreciate the public's cooperation.
"The safety and security of the BolderBOULDER runners, spectators, volunteers and sponsors is our primary concern," said Cliff Bosley, BolderBOULDER race director. "We thank everyone for their help in keeping this the fun and safe event we've enjoyed for the past 34 years."
For updates and race-day information, please see www.bolderboulder.com.
Permitted and prohibited items at Folsom Field.
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• Non-alcoholic beverages in approved factory-sealed plastic containers only (one per ticket holder). • Non-disposable water bottles, sport bottles, Nalgene-type bottles or other approved types of beverage containers that are not factory sealed must be emptied prior to entering the stadium. All containers must be less than two liters in size. • Soft-sided coolers, bags, or backpacks smaller than 12"X12"X12" • Modest amounts of food for personal consumption (fruits & vegetables must be sliced) • Small personal cameras • Binoculars • Strollers (small folding umbrella style only -- must fit under your designated seat location) • Blankets, seat cushions/soft-sided seat backs, and stadium seats under 18" wide. • All personal possessions must fit under you designated seat location.
Folsom Field complies with all TSA and Homeland Security prohibited items lists. In addition, prohibited items include:
• Non-factory sealed beverages or filled liquid containers including all thermoses. • Hard-sided coolers of any size or style • Bags or containers larger than 12"X12"X12" • Alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs (including medical marijuana) • Glass bottles or cans • Umbrellas of any size • Firearms or weapons of any type (including handguns carried in accordance w/ the Colorado Conceal & Carry Act). • Designated artificial noise makers such as whistles or air horns • Laser pointers • Signs or flags on sticks (regardless of length) • Any unapproved signs or banners • Professional grade video or camera equipment (e.g. telephoto lenses), tripods, or monopods. • Footballs, Frisbees, inflatable balls • Skateboards or skates • Fireworks • Animals (with the exception of service animals) • Any other item(s) deemed dangerous or unacceptable by security.
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