In light of the fatal bombings at the Boston Marathon last month, Bolder Boulder race organizers and local police on Tuesday announced extra security measures -- including bag screenings at the Folsom Field finish -- for this year's Memorial Day race.
The announcement by Boulder and University of Colorado police came almost exactly a month after two bombs set off near the finish of the Boston Marathon killed three and injured more than 140.
"After the Boston Marathon bombings, every law enforcement agency across the country looked at how they manage these large-scale events, and we're no different," CU police spokesman Ryan Huff said. "We thought it would be best to have some increased security measures.
"The participants should know Boulder police and CU police and the race organizers are all working together to make this the safest event possible."
Among the added measures, police will screen all bags that come into Folsom Field at the finish of the 10K race. Spectators bringing items into Folsom for the finish only will be allowed to bring in soft-sided bags no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches -- and those bags will be searched.
"If people have been to a football game here before, the screening will be very similar," Huff said.
Last week's CU spring commencement ceremony also included bag checks at Folsom Field and didn't see significant delays, Huff said. He added, though, that the Bolder Boulder crowd is much different.
"It's a much larger event and also a much longer event," Huff said.
Cliff Bosley, the race's director, said he does not anticipate the added security at the finish will cause spectators to stay away from Folsom.
"I don't think we have those concerns," he said. "The planning and the preparation that we are doing has us very comfortable."
In addition to security at the finish, police also will have extra officers all around the race course.
"We want people to know we're watching and trying to make the race safe and trying to put them at ease," Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner said.
Police and race organizers looked at how law enforcement handled other big races since the Boston Marathon bombings, Beckner said.
"That was the precipitating event that led us to increase our security for this race, which is pretty typical when you look at the races since the Boston race and ours," Beckner said. "Each city has done similar things."
Police also are asking the public not to bring any bags to the May 27 race if possible, and any unattended bags will be subject to confiscation. Officials also are asking anyone who sees any suspicious activity or bags to call 911 or notify a nearby officer.
"We are just reminding people to be aware of their surroundings and report anything suspicious," Beckner said. "Just common sense kind of things."
Runners for Boston
Bosley said from reaction he's seen both on social media and in person with registered runners, the security has not deterred entrants.
"We're looking at the event with a keen eye to safety and security," he said. "I think people are accustomed to that mindset already. I think as a whole it is a smart way to look at things and I think people will appreciate that it is in place."
Denver resident Colleen Miller has run the race every year since 1999 and said she agreed with the security measures.
"It's what I would do," she said. "They have to do everything they can to keep everyone safe. It's a great event, so I'm pleased with the security measures they're taking."
Miller said she also expects that rather than scaring runners, the Boston Marathon bombings may galvanize the running community. She said at a recent race in Denver she saw "Runners for Boston" shirts everywhere and looked into getting one herself.
Bosley said he also has heard from race participants who are dedicating their runs to Boston.
"I think that's a great way to look at it," Bosley said. "What we're hearing as we talk to different participants is, 'I'm going to run the Bolder Boulder because of what happened at the Boston Marathon.'"
Bosley said the race is on pace to have about 50,000 participants this year -- the 35th Bolder Boulder since the race started in 1979.
"It's a big anniversary for us," he said. "It is going to be a great race."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.