Emanuel says marathon enjoyable despite tighter security

Clout Street

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that Sunday’s Chicago Marathon will remain an enjoyable event for runners and spectators despite beefed up security in response to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Emanuel today pointed to the success of other large lakefront events here since the April bombing near the finish line in Boston as evidence Chicago is ready to go this weekend. "Since Boston, we have had Lollapalooza, we have had Taste of Chicago, we have had a number of events in that same area, and they all have come off where people enjoy themselves," he said.

For the first time, runners will have to carry their belongings in clear plastic bags. They also will be required to pick up their race packets in person. And spectators who meet runners in a reunion area after the race will be subjected to a bag search.

While the 26-mile race will wind through Chicago neighborhoods, the start and the finish line will be on Columbus Drive near Grant Park, where security will be heavy. Police also will search the bags of spectators along the route.

The mayor pointed to Chicago's dinner plate flatness as a key to the marathon's continued world standing.

"Four world records have been set at the Chicago Marathon, two by men, two by women," Emanuel said at an unrelated news conference. "So a world event is because we set world records here. We have a unique climate, and a very flat -- obviously it's very flat, so therefore people can set world records, unlike a Boston, unlike a New York City, unlike a Paris or other type of marathons."

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