CHAPEL HILL – The Tar Heel 10 Miler is bringing 5000 runners to Chapel Hill this Saturday morning. But in aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings and the Duke University Bomb threat on Tuesday, people now question how safe they really are at public events.
Since the first running of the event in 2008, race director Thÿs Wind has worked with area law enforcement to keep runners safe.
“I can’t get into the specifics for obvious reasons but both the UNC Department Public Safety as well as Chapel Hill police are taking extra precautions to make sure that everyone can have a safe race,” Wind said.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue is running the Tar Heel 10 Miler.
“Honestly I think participating in an event like this is wonderful for a community,” Blue said. “I think we all, on the heels of a tragedy like what happened in Boston, we are naturally more aware and more in-tuned to our surroundings which I think enhances safety.”
Blue says the CHPD and the UNC DPS will be ready to handle security threats this weekend.
“Number one I’m confident in the event organizers who do a great job every year and who are meticulous in their planning and their communication with all of the public safety officials,” Blue explained.
Randy Young of the UNC DPS says this is a key time for local law enforcement with athletic events like baseball games, several running races happening is a small window of time, and UNC graduation coming next month.
“We’re saying the same message as they’re putting out in Boston which is if you see something, say something,” Young said.
He explains that UNC DPS has a canine unit that’s trained in detecting the scents of about 30 different explosive devices and is used at high visibility functions like basketball, football games, and gradation.
“The level of attentiveness and vigilance is elevated in general—that’s for us and any law enforcement agency across the county right now,” Young said.