Road Closures in Place for Akron Marathon

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AKRON -- Preparations are underway for this weekend's 11th Akron Marathon.

Beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m., Akron police will close down several roads in preparation for Saturday's race.

*** Click here for a complete list of road closures ***

The sold out race is expected to attract 15,000 runners and along with them, scores of spectators and family members.

"It's huge and what we never thought about when we first decided to do this is how many people it would touch, how many lives it would touch," said Jeannine Marks, a co-founder of the race.

It is also the first marathon in Akron since April's bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Michael Clar, the security director for Akron's race, says the Boston bombing along with just about any other imaginable contingency is being taken into consideration.

"If we have any kind of incident at all, either be it some sort of criminal act or an act of nature, we have plans set up," said Clar.

All of this year's runners will have to have their belongings in a clear plastic bag and spectators and family members will be kept at a distance.

"In the past, we have allowed people to go right to where the runners finish. This year, we are keeping them away from there. Same with the start time. You cannot enter into the runners' corral where the starting line is," said Clar.

Spectators will also be screened going into Canal Park and will not be permitted near the finish line.

"Just like going to a Browns game, there's going to be some pat downs, some metal detectors. So it's going to be a little more restrictive from years past. But people shouldn't really notice a difference, other than you will have to wait in line to get inside," added Clar.

Race organizers say there are no specific threats of any kind directed at the Akron race. In fact, they say what happened in Boston seems to only make people more determined.

"There have been, you know, a hundred or more marathons since Boston that have gone off without a hitch. But we are doing everything we can to make sure everybody stays as safe as possible on race day," said Brian Polen, Akron's Race Director.

Akron organizers believe everyone will understand the new rules.

"Definitely," said Marks. "It did not affect how many people we have in our race. Every year it has grown and it will continue to grow this year. So, I think people are saying, 'look, we are going to live our lives the way we want to and we are going to do what we can for our communities and you are not going to get in our way'."

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