Increased security at River City Marathon

By Audrey Williams

May 17, 2013 Updated May 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Organizers have been planning this Sunday's inaugural River City Marathon for roughly two years. While safety measures were in place before, the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon have made officials re-examine their security efforts.

Jen Blackorby of Washington, ran the Boston marathon in April. She was just a few hundred feet away from the finish line when the blasts occurred. She says she is running in Peoria's marathon Sunday as a part of her healing process.

"I just want to have a happy ending. I want to finish and be happy about it, regardless of my time," said Blackorby.

She expects Sunday to be emotional, but she also believes it will be a safe event for all.

"I'm sure precautions will be taken to step up security and just have that peace about it," she said.

Lt. Steve Roegge with the Peoria Police Department says they have increased the number of officers along the route by about 20%. He also says they will have one of the largest unified command posts ever at the Gateway Building in downtown Peoria. He equates the security to that of a presidential visit.

"There will be supervisors from every aspect, everything from law enforcement, fire, public works and emergency service medical," said Lt. Roegge.

He says safety has been a top priority for this race since day one. However, just like the Race for the Cure, they decided to beef up security in light of the attacks in Boston, something that will become all too common.

Lt. Roegge said, "I think basically all special events, anytime we have a large number of people at any events, will have to be re-evaluated for the security portions of it. That may mean Steamboat will also be re-evaluating, fair we'll be re-evaluating."

Still, Blackorby encourages runners and spectators alike, to come Sunday and continue to enjoy life for those that had theirs taken away too soon in Boston.

She said, "I just feel like you can't sit around and be afraid, you really can't, that's how the terrorists really win."