Leaders On Alert Ahead Of OKC Memorial Marathon

Monday, April 15th 2013, 10:22 pm
By: News 9

Following the tragedy in Boston, leaders in Oklahoma City are taking extra precautions to ensure a safe race for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. The race is schedule for Sunday, April 28.

4/15/2013 Related Story: Officials: OKC Memorial Marathon Will Still Go On With Increased Security

Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial executive director, says the attack in Boston should not make people live in fear. But at the same time, marathon organizers say they will not hesitate to cancel the race if needed.

"I think this city has been through enough, and we're not going to put people in a position that we don't think we can control," Watkins said.

Organizers say they have always had a comprehensive security plan in place, but they will revisit that plan to see if any adjustments are needed.

"We are not afraid to cancel [the race] if we feel threatened, but in the absence of a credible threat, we're going to proceed forward and make this the safest event that we can possibly make it," marathon race director Chet Collier said.

4/15/2013 Related Story: At Least 3 Killed In Explosions At Boston Marathon Finish Line

Overall, runners don't seem concerned. Deana Knight has participated in every OKC race since its inception, and she's no stranger to the Boston Marathon.

"Everybody started texting me and asking if I was OK," Knight said. "Some people assumed I was [in Boston], and I didn't go this year."

Knight was surprised to see the scenes of Boston terror on TV because she says the security in Boston is topnotch. In Oklahoma City, police are learning what went wrong in Boston and say they don't plan on taking any chances.

"We are prepared for what we believe could be a worst-case scenario," Capt. Dexter Nelson with Oklahoma City police said.

That preparation means ramping up security in all areas, according to Nelson. It also means keeping bomb techs in place along the marathon route.

"I hope [the attack] doesn't keep anybody at home because I know a lot of people have trained so hard and are looking forward to this," Knight said.

4/15/2013 Related Story: At Least 3 Killed In Explosions At Boston Marathon Finish Line

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett says the city is in close contact with the FBI as the feds learn more information from Boston. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is expected to have nearly 24,000 participants this year.