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Security Tightening at Poconos Marathon

STROUDSBURG — Organizers for a Boston-qualifying race in the Poconos are now looking at ways to make next month’s race in Monroe County safer.

The Run for the Red Marathon will start this year at Pocono Raceway, wind throughout the Pocono Mountains and end at Stroudsburg High School.

But the tragedy at the Boston Marathon Monday has organizers looking into extra security measures.

For the past seven years, the Run for the Red Marathon in the Poconos attracted hundreds of runners each year. This year, more are expected, even after the deadly explosion at the Boston Marathon.

“Basically they are not going to allow terrorists to keep them away from what they want to do. In this case it’s the Pocono Run for the Red marathon,” said Bob Werts, race organizer.

But for this year’s marathon, Werts is wearing two hats. He’s also the program manager for the Northeast Counter Terrorism Task Force, a group that plans for emergency response in the event of a region-wide disaster.

The explosions during the Boston Marathon are making safety at the Run for the Red Marathon a top priority.

“We have to look at this course, we’ve got to look at where we’re going through, what we’re going to be doing, that sort of thing, to make sure we cover all the bases as far as safety goes,” said Werts.

Trish D’Imperio is the owner of Ready, Set, Run on Main Street in Stroudsburg. She also ran the Boston Marathon in 2011.The tragedy in Boston struck a chord with her, because her finishing time would have been 12 seconds before the first explosion went off .So extra security at this year’s Run for the Red Marathon is a welcome idea.

“I like to think that once they have these plans made, we won’t need it, so it’s good to have,” said D’Imperio.

“This race is going to go on. It is going to be as safe as we can possibly make it,” said Werts.

Werts will be meeting with law enforcement throughout the county, along with state police early next week.

The Run for the Red Marathon is set for Sunday, May 19.


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