Heavy security planned for City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh Sunday

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — About 4,000 people are expected to participate in events at Sunday’s City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh.

The race runs through downtown, Glenwood South and Raleigh’s greenway system – amid a heavy security presence.

“I guess I haven’t even fully processed what this is going to look like and sound like with the added security measures. I assume it will make me run faster because I’ll be a little bit pumping with adrenaline,” said runner Kristin Hendricks.

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Charlie Mercer, a race director, said, “The number of law enforcement officials that will be along the route is staggering for a race like this.”

He said in addition to police officers at all major intersections along the route, people or barricades will be positioned at all streets leading into the route.

The finish area will be fully contained by barricades and large trucks, he said.

“I know that there have been some recent events that have happened, and we’re certainly aware of those things, but the way we’re approaching security for this race is very similar to all of our other races,” Mercer said.

That approach includes private security company Stealth Vigilance K9, which is bringing in a new team member —  a dog named Watson — who can detect moving smells, not just stationary scents.

“This dog that we have to use tomorrow is able to detect that odor as it may be moving through a crowd and can work it back to the individual that’s carrying that explosive,” said Geoff Beckwith, chief operating officer of the company.

He said the new K9 skill is the latest effort to stay ahead of people causing harm with new types of devices.

“It’s a constant race, really, of our own,” Beckwith said.

“The types of attacks that have occurred around the world recently involving vehicles against pedestrians is difficult to prevent.”

Hendricks said, “I think security is always important. I guess I trust that the city of Raleigh will keep its runners safe.”

The City of Oaks Marathon kicks off Sunday morning.

The full marathon, half marathon, relay and 10K will start at 7 a.m., followed by the 5K at 7:20 and the kids’ mile at 7:30 a.m.

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