Backpacks and Bags Banned at Sunday's Central Park Race, Organizers Say

By Janon FisherBen Fractenberg and Irene Plagianos  on April 19, 2013 5:09pm  | Updated on April 19, 2013 6:48pm

NEW YORK CITY — The New York City Road Runners club is warning spectators and runners for the 4-mile Central Park race on Sunday to leave their bags at home to prevent Boston Marathon bombing copycats.

“As part of our ongoing focus on the safety of our runners, and in partnership with the NYPD, we have implemented enhanced security measures...for this race,” they announced on their website.

They said that exceptions would be made for racers picking up race material on the day of the race.

As a precaution, however, those runners will be given clear plastic bags at the entrance to Rumsey Playfield to carry their gear.

“You must transfer the contents of your own bag into the clear bag before you proceed to the registration tent. Any unattended bags will be confiscated by NYPD and could cause an interruption to the day’s events,” according to the website.

The club, which sponsors the New York City Marathon, said that they will remove all the garbage cans from the race route and portable toilets will only be available at mile two of the race.

Organizers of another road race being held on Sunday, the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk, referred all questions about security to the NYPD, which did not immediately have information.

Runners who came to pick up their bibs for the 9/11 Memorial 5K Friday at Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue said they did not fear for their safety.

"I figured the authorities would do everything they need to do to keep everyone safe," said Jonathan Reyes, 28, a retail developer at 7 World Trade Center. "I would have been more concerned if they canceled."

Mike Mayer, 28, who was running the race for the first time, said he didn't want to give in to the fear terrorists want to perpetuate.

"You can't live you're life thinking the worst will happen," Mayer said.

Race organizers will also be staggering the start of the kids' race to start at 9:30 a.m. — half an hour after the adult race.

 Opaque backpacks and bags will be banned at Sunday's Central Park 5K race to prevent a repeat of the Boston Marathon, officials said.
Opaque backpacks and bags will be banned at Sunday's Central Park 5K race to prevent a repeat of the Boston Marathon, officials said.
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Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Reyes added, "I'd rather take a risk than live in fear."

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