Security on list of concerns

400 city policemen set for duty in atmosphere of unease due to shootings

Baltimore Marathon

October 15, 2002|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Despite the sniper shootings that have hampered interscholastic sports in Washington and the surrounding counties, all systems are go for the second annual Baltimore Running Festival.

The festival will be run as scheduled Saturday, when four races will start and finish in a staging area between Ravens Stadium and Camden Yards. The recent rash of fatal shootings to the south has affected planning for the marathon, a 26.2-mile test that causes organizers logistical problems in the best of circumstances.

"We have been working the Baltimore police department and the mayor's office regarding increased security and what the plan will be," said race organizer Lee Corrigan.

"We had a similar situation last year, with 9/11. At this point, we're very confident that we'll provide the safest environment we possibly can. The good news is that the Baltimore police will be 400 strong on the course, and they'll provide a helicopter unit, as well."

In the past month, the festival has picked up another 100 teams for the marathon relay and doubled the field for its 5K, increases that have organizers hopeful that they will register 7,000 participants. Last year's inaugural event drew more than 9,000 entrants.

Erick Kimayo, a Kenyan who finished second in the 1997 Berlin Marathon in 2:07:43, is the men's favorite. Russian Elvira Kolpakova is expected to repeat in front of the women's field.

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