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NY marathon runners to face tighter security

From Maria Hinojosa
CNN New York

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Security will be tighter and bystanders won't be allowed to pass out water to thirsty participants when the New York City Marathon kicks off Sunday.

Days ahead of the 26-mile race, runners are already having their identifications checked and re-checked.

"Get there early. Don't bring any friends or family," advised Allen Steinfeld, CEO of the New York Road Runners Club. "Only runners are going to be allowed to go. Anything you bring with you will have to be in a clear plastic bag, and be expected to be searched as you board the buses."

As they have in the past, runners on Sunday will have computer chips in their shoes and on their number tags. If they don't match, they can't compete in the race.

Officials also said that runners are being told not to accept any food or drink from well-wishers along the route. Undercover police are expected to be out in force.

Despite the precautions, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he gave no thought to canceling the race.

"I couldn't possibly cancel it. I've finished first in this race, seven out of the last eight years," he joked.

Some runners said they are nervous, particularly about crossing the Verranzano Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island to Brooklyn.

"Somebody might do something," said one runner.

Anna Burker, another runner, said she would face her fears. "This is something that I have always wanted to do, and so I am just going to go out there and run and hope for the best, and run the best race that I can," she said.



 
 
 
 



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