The Twin Cities Marathon is fast approaching -- a popular race for marathoners from across the globe, recognized for its relatively fast course and beautiful terrain.
In the marathon's 32nd year, about 12,200 will first encircle the Metrodome, wind around Minneapolis lakes and finish by chasing pavement down Summit Avenue in St. Paul to the Capitol building, many of them seeking a chance to qualify for the Boston Marathon. However, like other racers since April, this year's runners will step with heavy hearts following the tragic bombings that took place at the Boston Marathon this April.
As a precautionary measure, Boston Police Department superintendent William Evans traveled to Minnesota on Thursday to discuss the bombings and law enforcement response before TC Marathon weekend ensues Oct. 4.
"I don't know what the security is for this particular marathon," Evans admitted, "but I hope they are taking some stepped-up precautions -- especially that last half mile or so."
Evans, was part of the emergency response planning before the Boston Marathon, ran the race himself and then led the department's field response from Boylston to Watertown.
In hindsight Evans says he's thankful for all the training his department had, but he now reflects on some weaknesses as he warns local authorities to be on the lookout for copycats.
For the next Boston Marathon, Evans wants to block backpacks as much as possible and switch to clear bags similar to those now used by the NFL. Plus, he wants the roughly 3,000 Boston Marathon volunteers to be trained better.
"There's no way you can cover all 26.2 miles, but the key is to train as many people -- whether they are policeman or medical, or civilians -- to look for something that just doesn't look right," Evans recommended.
Organizers of the Twin Cities Marathon say they've supplied runners with clear bags since 9/11. This year, they plan to start a new push to discourage spectators from bringing bags to the event at all.
Lifetime Fitness run coach Lisa Kresky-Griffin told FOX 9 she's fine leaving her bag at home. Griffin had just finished the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off and the Twin Cities Marathon will be her first big race since then.
"It will trigger a lot of emotions with the crowds, the energy, the national anthem," Griffin predicted. "I remember I was picking up my bag and heard the first bomb and a puff of smoke. So, we weren't sure what was going on -- thought it was a gas main break -- and then 10 seconds later, the second one went off and we saw that one go off. That's when we knew something wasn't right."
Griffin's husband was a spectator and was only about 60 feet from the second explosion. Still, they have never considered staying away from a race out of fear.
"If they say no bags, no bags," Griffin insisted. "Everyone will be thinking about Boston that day."