CLEVELAND, Ohio — Some 20,000 runners and at least twice as many spectators are expected to participate in 37th Rite Aid Marathon today.
And they will see some changes this year.
For starters, the 7 a.m. start time is for all race participants. It begins at Public Square, and the finish line will be outside the Cuyahoga Courthouse on Lakeside Avenue.
Jack Staph, executive director of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, said there is a new race course that goes beyond Cleveland.
“This year we are heading a little east to East 18th. And, then we are going to turn south and head west through Tremont, Ohio City, Lakewood and then Rocky River and then back,” he said.
Extra police presence and increased security measures are in place following the Boston Marathon bombing last year.
“They have sniffing dogs for bombs. They have police all over the course. We’ll have people in helicopters,” Staph said.
Runners will check in their personal belongings in clear, plastic bags, to be picked up after the race. And spectators will be allowed to carry purses and backpacks, but security will be watching to make sure they are never left unattended.
“If that’s the case, they’ll bring the dogs in to sniff it and they will confiscate it immediately,” Staph said.
Heidi Armstrong from Toronto said she is not worried about running in the marathon.
“You just put your running shoes on with a good attitude and a smile on your face and you go. I definitely put my faith in the race committee that they’re taking all the extra measures that need to be taken to keep us safe,” she said.
Even if you’re not running or watching the race, you may be affected.
There are more than 30 road closures from Cleveland to Rocky River. Some roads will remain closed until the last runner crosses the finish line.