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Ironman changes security in wake of Boston bombing

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  • AP
    Ironman athletes mill about before the start of the early morning 2.4 mile swim in Kailua Bay during the Ironman World Championship Saturday

KAILUA-KONA >> Organizers of the Ironman World Championship triathlon said they’re subtly increasing security at this year’s race in response to the bombing earlier this year at the Boston Marathon.

Organizers plan to distribute fliers to spectators, telling them what to watch out for and how to reach race officials if needed, West Hawaii Today reported today.

The fliers include information on suspicious packages, odors and behavior.

The fliers aren’t meant to cause alarm, but people are looking at things differently after the Boston bombing, race director Diana Bertsch said.

“Our biggest priority is we have to be safe,” Bertsch said. “We want everybody to have a good time.”

Three people were killed and more than 100 others were hurt when a bomb made from a pressure cooker exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line.

Ironman officials are coordinating with local law enforcement and prohibiting backpacks in credentialed areas and asking spectators not to bring bags to the race.

“What we want the public to know is to be alert, be aware and be informed,” Ironman deputy public safety director Stacey Aguiar said. “It’s not the professionals who are going to see something. It’s our spectators. They know this event front and back.”

Race organizers also are using an alert system utilized by Big Island police and Hawaii Civil Defense, which texts and emails alerts.

(Honolulu Marathon officials told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today that they’re also looking at security precautions in advance of the 41st Honolulu Marathon, which will be held Dec. 8. Last year’s race had 24,413 finishers, making it one of the largest in the world. Spokesman Pat Bigold said the event employed 430 police officers last year, more than twice as many as any other local event.

Jim Barahal, president of the Honolulu Marathon said in a statement that the event’s organizers are “working closely with the appropriate city, state and federal agencies to ensure the safest possible Honolulu Marathon.”) 

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