Organizers heighten security at Crim Festival of Races - WNEM TV 5

Organizers heighten security at Crim Festival of Races

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The 2014 Crim Festival of Races kicked off Friday night.

The first race is set to kick off at 7 p.m.. Friday and with all those people in Flint security is a huge factor.

A spokesperson for the Crim Festival of Races said security has been heightened since the Boston Marathon bombings, but organizers said there is no reason for anyone to be startled. They just want to make sure everyone is safe so they have added a few additional rules this year.

"We are very confident that everything will go off without a hitch from a safety stand point,"  said Andy Younger, race director.

Younger has many duties this year at the festival including safety, and this year there is one important change for the runners.

"We are not allowing participants to wear backpacks on the course. So if this is something you are thinking of doing, please do not," Younger said.

He said it's common for runners to wear a backpack with water and other items needed for the longer races. Backpacks are out, but you can wear gear specifically designed for runners.

"The exception is if you have a hydration pack like a camel back. Those are allowed," Younger said.

Backpacks however are allowed for spectators, but Younger said be prepared to have backpacks, purses and coolers checked. 

"It is a possibility that anything anyone brings in can be searched and so people should be prepared for that," Younger said.

In and around the track the sheriff's department, Flint Police Department and the Michigan State Police will be highly visible patrolling the streets. Younger said he feels good about the event and so should anyone and everyone planning to attend. 

"It is absolutely our responsibility and the entire community's responsibility to ensure that everyone has a safe and wonderful time," Younger said.

Organizers expect a crowd of about 60,000 people in downtown Flint on Saturday morning. 

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