Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) – Many new changes have been made to this year's Buffalo marathon, including extra security.
After the Boston Marathon bombings, law enforcers say they're using extra caution, advising runners and spectators not to leave bags unattended.
Police are also putting extra patrols on the water, and officers on horses and in the air.
Open-air bus tours of the marathon course, food trucks near the finish line, speakers at the marathon expo, Boston Marathon tribute temporary tattoos, cowbells, new start line procedures, and revisions in bag checking are among the changes in store for runners in the 2013 Buffalo Marathon, slated for Sunday, May 26. Approximately 6,000 runners from Western New York and around the world are expected to participate.
The full, half and relay marathons start at 7 a.m. in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Pearl Street in downtown Buffalo. See maps and course information on BuffaloMarathon.com. All streets on the marathon route, as noted on the map, will begin to close at 6:30 a.m. on race day and will begin to reopen starting at 10 a.m. for the first 13.1 miles of the course. Residents in those neighborhoods should take note of the street closures and plan accordingly.
The Buffalo Marathon will pay tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in several ways, including holding a moment of silence before the race, providing all runners with temporary “Boston Strong” tattoos, and a playlist of songs before and after the race featuring bands from Boston, based on suggestions from runners on the Buffalo Marathon’s Facebook fan page.
Runners and their families will be able to scout the Buffalo Marathon route on Saturday, May 25 in an open-air autobus, getting landmark commentary from the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture, the official tour provider. Participants will see houses by Frank Lloyd Wright, mansions by McKim, Mead and White, parks by Frederick Law Olmsted, towering grain elevators, and historic neighborhoods along the 26.2-mile route. Tours, which depart from Pearl and Huron Streets at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, will take place at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m., rain or shine. The price is $25 advance or $30 at the door. To sign up, call (716) 854-3749 or email Tours@c4gb.org.
Four running experts will be speakers at the Buffalo Marathon Expo, set from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 25 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. They include Neely Spence Gracey, the top non-African finisher in the women’s senior event at the recent World Cross Country Championships in Poland, who will discuss how she doubled her competition distance from 5K to 10K and how she made the most of extreme race conditions in Poland; Owen Anderson, Ph.D., author of four books on running, who will speak on the top three things a runner should do to improve performance; Glenn Kaifas, owner and operator of Fitness360 in Buffalo, speaking on “Nutrition for Distance Runners”; and Steve Gonser, a graduate of Daemen College with a doctorate in physical therapy, who will discuss “Preventing Injury through Run Form and Exercise.”
A free 26.2-yard fun run for children will be held on Saturday, May 25 for kids ages 2 to 12 at 2 p.m. and will include refreshments and ribbons for all finishers. Participants can sign up at the Buffalo Marathon Expo starting at 1 p.m.
Another new feature this year is the availability of food trucks near the finish line. Lloyd Taco Trucks, The Black Market Food Truck, Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs, the Sweet Hearth, and Rolling Joe Café will be ready to sell food at 6:30 a.m. on Franklin Street north of the finish line near Huron Street. All of the menus will be altered to serve breakfast items.
“More cowbell” will be heard along the marathon route this year, as the Buffalo Marathon is distributing 500 cowbells to marathon volunteers along the race course to cheer on the runners.
To ensure the safety and security of runners, new start line procedures have been implemented this year. They include the following:
· Runners will not be allowed to enter the chute from the front at Huron and Pearl Streets. Instead, they must enter from the back of the chute at Pearl and Chippewa Streets.
· The start line will be barricaded until right before the start of the race. No participants will be permitted to enter under any circumstances.
· The barricades at the back of the chute will be staffed by marathon volunteers and will be opened at 6:15 a.m.
· There will be no spectators allowed on the sidewalks in the starting chute.
· Runners will not be allowed to carry any bags into the starting chute.
More information is available at BuffaloMarathon.com. Runners, volunteers and supporters can see the latest news from the Buffalo Marathon on the Buffalo Marathon’s Facebook fan page.