Boston, MA, United States (4E) – The 118th Boston Marathon is kicking off on Monday with more than 36,000 runners participating guarded by some 5,500 police officers and more than 100 surveillance cameras to prevent a repeat of last year’s twin bombings of the race that killed three people and injured 260 others.
The number of runners was increased to accommodate 5,000 marathoners who failed to cross the finish line last year because of the ensuing chaos from the explosions.
The 5,000 uniformed and 500 plainclothes policemen will be on the lookout for would-be bombers in the estimated one million spectators of the race while the security cameras were set up along the 26.2-mile race route in eight cities and towns.
The high-resolution cameras are controlled from an underground coordination center manned by 260 security officials representing more than 60 local, state and federal agencies.
“We’ll be looking for somebody who just doesn’t feel right,” said Boston’s new police commissioner Bill Evans, according to CBS News. “The characteristics – a lot of our officers, during their training, [are] looking at the characteristics of someone who might be carrying explosives.”
Spectators are banned from bringing backpacks, rucksacks, strollers or costumes. Last year, the bombers, two brothers from Dagestan living in the U.S., left pressure-cookers stuffed with explosives and hidden inside backpacks near the finish line and detonated the bombs remotely.
One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombings while his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was later caught. The surviving suspect is now on trial and is facing the death penalty for the crime.