Safety and security No. 1 at 36th annual Chicago Marathon - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Safety and security No. 1 at 36th annual Chicago Marathon

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The countdown is on to the start of the 36th annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon. City officials laid out new rules and regulations Thursday, which will mean big changes this year.

The changes come in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and are designed to keep runners and spectators safe. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and marathon officials briefed the media on their plans at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue late Thursday morning.

Eight runners who have run every single race (all 36) were present at the press conference. What an accomplishment!

About 45,000 runners will take to the streets, winding their way through 29 neighborhoods. Runners may also bring an army of money to the city of Chicago. According to race officials, $243 million will be pumped into the local economy. Socially, economical and philanthropically, the Chicago Marathon has a lot to offer.

But with such a big event, safety and security is always a top priority. Chicago Marathon Executive Director, Carey Pinkowski and the mayor said in the aftermath of the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, they are ready. They will not be bullied by fear.

"As we have planned for this year's event, we were profoundly affected by what took place in Boston this past April. The heart-breaking events left a lasting impression on all of us," Pinkowski said. "But it was evident to me and my organization how strong, how determined and how united the running community is. Together, we move forward. We move forward with confidence. We move forward with strength."

"Let's also be clear that post-Boston, we'll do our job so everyone can enjoy and have fun. We had a record number last year. We expect a record number running this year," Emanuel said. "The world will watch the endurance of the human spirit to persevere and consistently as a group - while individuals run - as a group, an entire city, an entire country, and an entire world coming together to say that we will not be deterred."

When runners when register, they're going to get a clear, see-through backpack so race officials can see what's inside. Anybody along the race route is highly discouraged from bringing a backpack, as a safety precaution. In fact, it is up to security's discretion as to whether the bag or the spectator will need to leave the race area if they find it to be questionable.

Safety and security is priority No. 1 at this year's race.

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