Security increased for the Eugene Marathon

EUGENE — In light of the bombings in Boston, Eugene Marathon officials say they will step up security measures for this weekend's event, expected to attract more than 8,500 runners.

"It's something we have to do in the aftermath ... which really got us thinking about security," Race Director Richard Maher said.

Participants can expect random bag checks. Runners will be quickly ushered through the finish chute at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus, The Register-Guard of Eugene reported.

Those are among measures already in place that haven't been tightly enforced in previous races, said Eugene police Lt. Sam Kamkar.

Other measures: limiting pre-race shuttles to participants wearing event bibs, promptly towing vehicles parked in "no parking" areas, searching and removing unattended bags, and prohibiting re-entry into a participant-only area near the finish line.

"A large contingent" of officers from several departments will work the event, joined by members of the Oregon National Guard, Kamkar said.

Beyond that, police and marathon officials declined to discuss details of the safety plan.

It is the seventh year for the race. A 5-kilometer race and a separate "Kids Duck Dash" are planned for Saturday. The marathon and a half marathon begin at 7 a.m. Sunday.

In a prepared statement, marathon officials asked spectators and participants to serve as the event's "eyes and ears" and to call 911 to report suspicious activity.

The marathon's website encourages runners to put their hands over their hearts at the finish line as part of the race's effort to honor victims, runners and the city of Boston.

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