CINCINNATI - Organizers of Ohio marathons were among running officials across the globe taking hard looks Tuesday at security plans for their events, with new restrictions and stepped-up police presences considered likely after the deadly Boston Marathon explosions.
The State Highway Patrol superintendent said troopers would increase their visible presence at the Statehouse and large-scale events around Ohio amid concern about potential copycat crimes and would work with other law enforcement on security efforts at events that draw significant crowds, such as baseball and football games, charity events and marathons.
A previously planned meeting with police Tuesday had added urgency for Flying Pig Marathon officials, with the annual race weekend coming up May 3-5 in Cincinnati. As many as 33,000 people were expected to take part in a series of races downtown highlighted by the 15th marathon that Sunday morning. There are also races in the next few weeks in Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland.
The Cincinnati race already has extensive security and medical response plans in place, but officials will consider whether additional measures are needed, executive director Iris Simpson-Bush said.
"We're just currently conducting our security audit with local police and fire officials and determining what additional measures we will need, as we continue to monitor the events in Boston," Simpson-Bush said through a spokeswoman Tuesday afternoon while she worked on race plans.
She said a news conference with police will be held this week.
Besides the Flying Pig marathon expected to draw some 5,000 runners, thousands more take part in races that include a one-mile run Friday night and children's races Saturday. The marathon takes its name from Cincinnati's winged-pig sculptures, a whimsical nod to the city's past as a pork-packing center.
Cincinnati police officials will also meet with federal authorities as the investigation continues into the Boston explosions. The Capital City Half Marathon is also coming up May 4 in downtown Columbus, with some 14,000 runners and walkers expected.
Organizers said Tuesday they will reconsider some public access areas, security at the start and finish lines, bag checks and credentialing procedures.
"The entire walking and running community around the country may look at these events a little differently," said David Babner, the race director.
He said registration numbers spiked after news of the explosion, indicating people want to show solidarity with Boston.