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'No Backpack' Zone At Avera Race Saturday

May 9, 2014, 4:54 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

'No Backpack' Zone At Avera Race Saturday

The Boston Marathon bombing is prompting a new safety precaution at the Avera Race Against Breast Cancer in Sioux Falls. Race organizers quickly implemented a no backpack zone at last year's event following the Boston Marathon bombing and this year the restriction will remain in place.

The race will draw more than 6,000 runners and countless family members and spectators this year. It’s why organizers of Saturday’s Avera Race Against Breast Cancer want to take as many precautions as possible.

"We hope that nothing happens but we prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Sioux Falls Police Lieutenant Troy Lubbers said.

Sioux Falls Police along with Avera Race officials are restricting backpacks at the start and finish lines and in the main-stage area at the Avera Fitness Center.

Map of 'no backpack' zone and start/finish lines

"That was one of the things we implemented last year was the no backpack zone so we wanted to stick with that to keep our security up and to make sure people felt safe when they were coming," Avera Race Against Breast Cancer coordinator Missy Keiper said.

There will be a backpack drop off area where spectators and participants can keep their bags during the race.

Police say it will help them keep track of the large crowds.

"Avera decided it was a good thing to have the no backpack policy. What it does is it helps us to monitor the race, look for those items that might be a suspicious package, and just making sure we ensure safety of the participants of the race," Lubbers said.

Because organizers want everyone to focus on fighting breast cancer and not worrying about safety.

"Making sure everything that is here is safe and taken care of. We have people watching the items that are coming and going so they can be comfortable running that morning and just feel good about being here, supporting the community, supporting the cause and just leaving feeling on a high that they made a difference in the community," Keiper said.

There will be a 5K and a 10K race Saturday as well as a fun walk. Registration continues at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning at the Avera Fitness Center on Southeastern Avenue.

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