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Saturday, May 18, 2013 – APN News – Mike Leventhal Staff Writer
The combination of a significantly expanded field—26,912 entrants, an increase of nearly 10,000 over last year—and the precedent of the Boston Marathon bombings only a month earlier made security enhancements especially necessary at this year’s Brooklyn Half-Marathon.
Belongings could only be checked in transparent bags, and the many thousands of starters were shepherded more closely through the staging areas and into their starting corrals—which were the only places containing portable toilets. “I knew why they were doing it,” said Tom DiChiara, who traveled from Washington, DC, to run the race. “Policing of the porta-johns was a bit unexpected, though.”
Many areas that runners typically don’t pay much attention to were now under scrutiny: they couldn’t take a bag into the portable toilets, for instance, and those facilities were divided up for use by runners with particular bib number-ranges. “We were definitely safe at the start, though—and nothing got in the way of the race,” said DiChiara, who finished in 1:11:16.
Riccardo Bianchi, 49, finished in 1:24:54 and had compliments for the organizers. “It’s a lot of people, and I thought the logistics went very well,” said the Italian native and current Brooklynite. “They had the most runners ever here—often things don’t go smoothly [in that situation], but here we had no trouble.” John Shostrom, team captain of the Brooklyn Road Runners Club, said that the increased field size had caused crowding that slowed the early miles for many mid-pack runners. “But our club had about twice as many entrants as usual,” he said. “There was a definite buzz about the race this year.”