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Heading Out to Watch the Marathon? What You Need to Know

Photo Credit: Boston Athletic Association
Photo Credit: Boston Athletic Association

The city of Boston and town of Hopkinton are asking fans and spectators of this year’s Boston Marathon for their cooperation to ensure the safety and security of participants, volunteers and spectators.

Officials say anyone planning to watch the 2014 Boston Marathon from anywhere along the 26.2 mile course should expect a significant presence of uniformed and plain clothed police officers. 

Spectators approaching or in viewing areas on the course will be required to pass through security checkpoints, and law enforcement officers or contracted private security personnel may ask to inspect bags and other items being carried. To avoid delays, spectators are encouraged not to carry any of the items listed below.

Hopkinton officials say spectators in Hopkinton are encouraged to carry personal items in clear plastic bags. Using a clear plastic bag to carry personal items will enhance public safety and speed security screening. In all cases, spectators should keep their personal items under their immediate control at all times. Unattended items may cause delays.

The Hopkinton Police Department encourages the public to actively participate in the “See Something Say Something” campaign. Spectators are asked to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious conduct or items to the closets law enforcement officer by calling 9-1-1.

Spectators in any viewing areas are discouraged from possessing any of the items listed below because that would result in delays when passing through security checkpoints and enhanced screening. Additionally, these items are not allowed in the viewing areas in any spot along the marathon:

  • Weapons or items of any kind that may be used as weapons including: firearms, knives, mace, etc.

  • Backpacks or any similar item carried over the shoulder

  • Suitcases and rolling bags/rollers

  • Coolers

  • Glass containers or cans

  • Flammable liquids, fuels, fireworks or explosives

  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid

  • Handbags or packages or bulky items larger than 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches

  • Large blankets/comforters, duvets and sleeping bags.

  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond perimeter of the body

  • Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire gear

Several viewing areas in Hopkinton and Boston will have heightened security rules, officials say. Spectators entering these areas will be required to pass through security checkpoints and all bags and items being carried will be subject to screening by B.A.A. personnel, contracted security personnel, venue personnel and law enforcement officers. Spectators are strongly encouraged to carry personal items in clear plastic bags and in all cases should keep their personal items under their immediate control at all times. Unattended items may cause delays, officials say.

For more information about security and regulations in place for this year’s marathon, including rules for B.A.A. venues including the Athlete’s Village, runner and spectator shuttle buses, as well as allowable and prohibited items for official participants, view the Policies for 2014 Boston Marathon Spectators.
Buzz April 18, 2014 at 02:41 PM
I'm steering clear. Not interested in police state type environments.
Julie the Jarhead April 19, 2014 at 08:27 AM
People, remember -- There are FOUR subway lines that go into the Downtown Crossing / Back Bay area. You don't HAVE to take the Green Line. The ORANGE line goes to Back Bay Station, and it's pretty centrally located. Also, consider watching the Marathon from a less-populated area, such as Framingham / Newton / Needham. The runner will appreciate it, and so will the security folks.
Heather A. McDonald April 19, 2014 at 09:36 AM
Newton -home of Heartbreak Hill & Boston College is a very popular / exciting locale to cheer on the runners- youll be disappointed if you go to Needham as it is not on the marathon route - Wellesley yes!
Julie the Jarhead April 19, 2014 at 09:00 PM
Good catch, Heather. My map skills leave a bit to be desired. I never went on hikes when I was in the service. ;)

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