Uganda’s greatest athlete of all-time World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich has his sights set on the New York Marathon gold on today at 1700 hrs.He is yet to any of Tokyo, Berlin, London, Boston, Chicago and New York the biggest city marathons on the planet.
“My coach said I have to focus more on winning the big city marathons soon,and I had to go through training first,” Kiprotich said before he set off for New York City.
Uganda has for the first time entered more than one runner in the NY Marathon and Kiprotich will helped by fellow Ugandan and Prisons teammate Jackson Kiprop who helped him win the World Championships in Moscow.
The cash prize for the winner is Shs1.8bn. ‘ “I am very happy with what I’ve done in training over the last two months and winning this would be so important to me.”
Marathon bolster security
New York City will boost security during its marathon Sunday by deploying helicopters, boats, scuba divers, bomb-sniffing dogs and hundreds of cameras, news reports said on Saturday.
The New York Police Department began making a strategy for this year’s marathon a day after three people were killed and 260 were injured on April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, police commissioner Raymond Kelly said, according to the New York Times.
“This will be the best-protected race that they can enter,” Kelly said in a message to runners. “There are no guarantees in our post-9/11 world, but we’re doing everything we reasonably can to protect the runners and the spectators and have this be a safe and enjoyable event.”
Major US sporting events such as the Super Bowl and World Series have been treated as potential terrorism targets since the September 11, 2001, terrorism attacks. But marathons have proved far more difficult to secure because their long courses snake through cities, including parks, wide thoroughfares and other urban landscapes.
Under New York’s new security plan runners and spectators will be subjected to additional security measures like bag searches. Any bag carried within blocks of the racecourse will be searched, according to the New York Daily News. The bombs used in Boston were concealed inside backpacks.
The level of video surveillance also will be greatly enhanced on Sunday in New York. Cameras will record nearly the entire marathon route, Kelly said, noting the role surveillance cameras played in tracking down the suspects in the Boston bombings.
In New York City security officials have had to consider skyscrapers whose windows could serve as a perch for a sniper and subway grates and drains that could be used to conceal a bomb hidden underneath.
Police scuba divers are being used to sweep the shoreline and bridges for any hidden devices. In addition helicopters and police boats will patrol during the race, Kelly said.
About 45 000 runners are expected to participate in this year’s New York City marathon. Runners start in waves beginning shortly after 9 am (1400 GMT). The finish line for the marathon is in Central Park.