Extra Security at Bix 7 - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Extra Security at Bix 7

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When the 20 thousand people line up down Brady Street for the start on Saturday morning," Race Analyst Toni Reavis says, "You won't be able to tell the Protestants from the Catholics, the Republicans from the Democrats." And if crews do it right, they say you won't be able to see extra security either. But it will be there.

Race Director Ed Froehlich says, "Because of Boston, we have really cranked down and made a lot of changes." Two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line, taking three lives, leaving more than 260 hurt. Reavis says, "It was the 9-11 of the sports world." He calls the Boston race like he does the Bix 7. "Not four minutes before the bombs went off is when we left the finish line."

Froehlich says, "It's aggravating. Running is a pretty innocent sport, so we were pretty upset about that." Why he's worked to maintain that innocence here, working with law enforcement to do just that. This is a different race, but both start and end on crowded streets and both get a lot of exposure. "The main thing we have to take care of," Froehlich tells us, "is that it's televised. KWQC televises the race and that makes it a bigger target."

He says, "We want to put on a fun race, but safe." That starts at the starting line, with a new chain link fence. "Then we won't allow any spectators on the sidewalks next to the line up," Froehlich says. "We want to have the sidewalks clear so nobody can come in and set something down."

On the sidewalks and behind the crowd, there extra police, fire and medics. Assistant Fire Chief Bart Howard tells us there will be an extra medical tent and increased communication, with a unified command system. "Fire and Police and Medic will all be in the same room, all talking on the same frequencies, so it's a much more coordinated response than ever before."

One he says he's not expecting we'll need. "Not really," Howard says. "If you look at it statistically, the chances are minuscule. But that's what we get paid for, to worry about these low frequency, high risk events."

This event comes three months after Boston. Elite runner Joan Benoit Samuelson at both, saying the victims there have moved forward and we all need to do the same.

"I think we need to celebrate that and honor that by doing what it is that we love to do with our lives," Samuelson says. "I think collectively there's a lot of strength in our sport and I think that will carry our sport forward."

Everyone we talked to shared the same thoughts. There has been some time and distance since Boston. And most have put away the fear and are focusing on the joy of this event. In fact, while numbers were down at races across the country right after, we are told this year's Bix has 600 more runners than last.

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