Grandma’s Marathon Security Preparations

DULUTH, MINN. — Grandma’s Marathon is just two months away and that means more planning is happening. Friday, more than 15 agencies including the police and fire departments, public works, ham radio operators, homeland security, and even the Coast Guard got together to review and improve security plans for the race.

On the morning of June, 17 runners will set off to run the 26.2-mile course that covers two counties and has 9,000 runners and thousands of spectators. Plus many more people will be taking part in the half marathon and the other race happening that weekend. Security for everyone involved is a top priority that involves many different agencies and groups.

Dewey Johnson, the Emergency Operation Manager for St. Louis County said, “Since the Boston Marathon, a lot of things have changed. Security concerns have been raised, really working together and talking through some things to see where maybe we need to improve, and what we do well. As you know the marathon’s been here a long time, we’ve done a good job of changing through the years and adding more security measures. Working with some state and federal partners bringing in some assets.”

Planning for the marathon weekend goes on for a full year before the June event. Bringing all the agencies together to discuss plans means that they will all have a better idea about how to work together on race day. Many of these organizations have been involved in past years but the people from the agencies change and new, better ways to secure the event are discussed.

“This is an important piece because these are scenarios that if not talked about beforehand can become fairly chaotic in the moment as they’re happening,” said Zach Schneider, the Marketing & P.R. Director of Grandma’s Marathon.

Grandma’s Marathon is now the 12th largest marathon in the country. And, as always with this race, the number one concern is the weather according to this group, which is why the Weather Service is involved. Weather on race day is the wild card, the one thing that can change and that needs to be planned for in advance.

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