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Safety is the name of the game for race day

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- Safety is a top priority for organizers of this weekend's Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, especially after last year's bombing at the race in Boston.
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- Safety is a top priority for organizers of this weekend's Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, especially after last year's bombing at the race in Boston. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera has more from the race route.

New rules were put into place after last year. Organizers are continuing those rules this year. With so much ground to cover, organizers say they're doing what they can to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

As runners get ready for this weekend's race, they have the finish line in mind, but organizers are thinking about all the smaller steps in between.

"The biggest thing we have to do is look out for the venue itself. One of the things that's always challenging about this event is, you have 26 miles of venue, plus two major gathering areas."

All that space can pose a challenge when it comes to security.

"Post-Boston, we obviously had to make a lot of changes rather quickly. Things like bag control for runners who are in the half- or full-marathons. We actually do a bag drop and those bags are inspected and certain aspects of that inspection go into play to make sure it's safe."

Families and friends who come to watch are also involved with these new measures. Some were upset after missing the end of the 5K last year. They had to wait in line to get bags checked before going into Memorial Stadium.

"You've got a big event. We're going to have about 7,000 runners in the 5K alone. A lot of spectators want to get in the stadium. We have to be prepared."

The race's emergency services coordinator says the same rules apply at the stadium as they would for a football game. That also means only the athletes are allowed on the grass.

"The spectators like to come down to the field and we can't really allow that. There's just, we have to control that field area for the safety of everybody."

All those rules are part of a bigger plan to make sure everyone stays safe on the road then gets home afterwards. Organizers say a good way to avoid lines and extra security; leave whatever you can at home or in the car and try to get settled early to make sure you don't miss your favorite runners.
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