Police plan extra security for participants, spectators at Bridge Run

By Stacy

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Lowcountry law enforcement officials met Friday for a panel discussion at the Mount Pleasant Police Department regarding the Cooper River Bridge Run.

The Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 200 others occurred less than a year ago. In light of heightened concerns for race day, officials have planned for heightened security, they said.

However, they have not had any threats regarding the Bridge Run, officials said.

"Most major races you see are going through what we're going through. You don't even notice what's going on behind the scenes," race director Julian Smith said.

This year's Bridge Run will have more law enforcement officers present than any prior race, they said. Representatives from local, state and federal agencies will be present, officials said.

There will be security checkpoints and fencing located along the race route, especially around the finish line, officials said.

"Everyone's going to come and have a good time. It's just going to be heightened security. Most people won't even notice. There's going to be more fencing. You won't even notice what's going on behind the scenes," Smith said.

Race organizers also asked participants to pack light and to use the provided clear backpack if they need a bag. Participants in costumes or bulky clothing will be subject to being searched, officials said.

They asked race participants to cross the finish line and then continue quickly to Marion Square.

"We'll have five locations to transport people: the Convention Center, 75 Calhoun, Mamie Whitesides School in Mount Pleasant, Town Center and East Academy in Mount Pleasant," Smith said. "Everything's the same. The corral system is basically the same. We ask runners to travel light, not to bring backpacks, don't bring strollers. Come and have a good time."

The portion of Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant from which the race starts will shut down at 4:30 a.m., officials said.

With around 40,000 participants, the Cooper River Bridge Run is the 10th-largest race in the U.S. and the 25th largest in the world, Smith said.