published Monday, April 29th, 2013

Atlanta mayor vows enhanced security for road race

ATLANTA — City leaders and organizers of a popular 10K race said today that they will implement enhanced security measures at the event this year in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings.

Mayor Kasim Reed said details are still being worked out but participants and spectators can expect to see more police officers at the AJC Peachtree Road Race July 4 race, and authorities will be taking strategic steps behind the scenes as well.

“Today, my message is a simple one. The Peachtree Road Race will be run in Atlanta on July 4,” Reed said. “We will not let the acts of two sick murderers alter our way of life or our behavior.”

The mayor called the race, which draws about 60,000 runners to the city each year, “an Atlanta institution” and pledged that every city resource would be available to ensure public safety. Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said the department is already working with state and federal law enforcement on planning and training for the event.

Turner said more surveillance cameras will be added to the race route along with canine teams for sweeps. He said additional people will be monitoring the video feeds and retired officers will be volunteering at the event.

“Our resources will be more than prepared to deal with these events, and we are excited about moving this, the 44th running of the Peachtree Road Race, forward,” Turner said.

Reed added that he would work with corporate partners to help ensure costs would be covered for the additional security cameras. The city already has 1,300 cameras.

“We’re going to do what is necessary to make the route safe,” said Reed, who plans to run the race again this year. “That gap is going to be closed.”

The race is organized by the Atlanta Track Club. Founded in 1964, the club is considered to be one of the largest running organizations in the U.S., and puts on more than 25 events a year.

Tracey Russell, the club’s executive director, said safety will be a top priority and organizers will work with city and law enforcement officials on their safety plan. Race organizers also plan to find a way to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

“Here in Atlanta, we have an opportunity to make the 2013 AJC Peachtree Road Race a run for freedom and solidary as 60,000 people make their way down Peachtree Road on Independence Day,” Russell said.

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