PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Hundreds of thousands of people will fill downtown for the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday. Crews spent Saturday putting the finishing touches on the race route. Safety and security is one thing they don’t take lightly.
“Along the course we have many police officers and security guards along the course that are there every year monitoring the course,” Chief Operating Officer of the Pittsburgh Marathon Dee Stathis said.
Dee Stathis is in charge of operations. Something new this year: Ten dispatchers will be set up at the event taking emergency calls related to the marathon inside the Steelworkers building.
“So whenever they call into 911 if it’s associated with the marathon course we ask that they say they’re on the marathon course and give their best indication of where they are,” Stathis said.
The Transportation Safety Administration issued an alert warning trucking companies and law enforcement agencies around the nation that terrorists could be planning to steal trucks and use them as killing machines. The TSA reported that no area is immune to a vehicle ramming attack.
“I think we’re always aware of what’s happening in the world and we work very closely with the city and the county and rely on them,” Stathis said.
“My wife and I are both public school teachers so we’ve been through drills many times so we understand the importance of being vigilant,” runner Kerry Naylor said.
“You’ve gotta be aware of it but at the same time have to live your life and have a good time,” runner Craig Miller said.
Laure Ritzert ran the half marathon in the past but is sitting out this year. She says security isn’t something a runner usually thinks about.
“I think more in the zone than anything else,” Ritzert said.
“Probably worry about the next step to be honest listening to music and keep going at good pace,” Miller said.
In addition to paramedics and police being scattered throughout the race route, public safety spokesperson Sonya Toler said firefighters will also be on standby. Officials from emergency management will be on hand and large public works vehicles will secure several intersections.