CHICAGO (CBS) — In light of the Las Vegas massacre, authorities in Chicago have been focusing on security for Sunday’s marathon, and how to make sure runners and fans stay safe.
Approximately 44,000 runners will take part in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and another million spectators will cheer them on along the race course.
With the marathon drawing so many people to one general area, safety and security is top of mind in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The white tents have been set up in Grant Park, and marathons have been setting up barricades in preparation for Sunday’s race, but the preparation goes beyond just the appearance of the event.
City officials have been making sure plans are in place, in light of the mass shooting. Many high-rises surround Grant Park and line the race course; in some sense, resembling the outdoor music festival in Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel.
On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with officials from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to discuss their emergency plans, and to decide if changes need to be made.
Officials went over potential emergency events and existing response plans. Chicago increased security for its marathon following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
“Basically, we’re prepared for any eventuality in this effort, and we trained for any possible circumstances in this type of event so everybody can enjoy a great marathon,” Emanuel said.
One runner said this year is his fifth marathon, and he’s even more determined to run this weekend.
“With Boston, it was on our minds, and with yesterday it’s on our minds. Our feeling is that if we don’t run it, we sort of capitulate to the people who want to instill terror, whatever their intent, or if they have no agenda,” Craig McCrohon said. “We want to combat that, and show that we’re alive, and we’re with the people who endured that suffering, and I think that’s very important that we continue with that.”
Two other events in Chicago will also draw big crowds next week: the Cubs’ playoff game against the Nationals at Wrigley Field on Monday, and the Bears’ Monday night game against the Vikings at Soldier Field.