HARVEYS LAKE — The run will go on.
A field of 500 runners with 500 to 600 spectators are expected at Saturday’s Wilkes-Barre Racing Glen Summit Spring Water Run at Harveys Lake.
Despite the horrific bomb blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, there were no plans to cancel the Harveys Lake race, Wilkes-Barre Racing Executive Director Rich Pais said Tuesday.
One thing runners and spectators will see is a heightened police presence around the 8.2-mile course.
“I have contacted the state police for assistance, and (police) departments in the Back Mountain will be here to step up security,” said Harveys Lake Police Chief Charles Musial.
Police canine units and paramedics also will be on hand.
“We’ve never had any problems at any of our races,” Pais said. “You worry about a copycat trying to do something goofy. We want to do everything we can to make sure our runners, athletes and their families are safe. This is what we have to do. You can never overreach when planning security.”
Musial and Pais are asking spectators to keep their bags and other personal belongings secured in their vehicles.
Other races and outdoor events are being held with more security. According to The Associated Press:
* Penn State’s police chief says his department is evaluating plans for Saturday’s spring football game and will improve security where needed. Chief Tyrone Parham on Tuesday didn’t divulge specific security measures related to the Blue-White intrasquad scrimmage at Beaver Stadium that culminates Penn State spring practice and other sporting events on campus, including the NCAA men’s gymnastics championship Friday through Sunday.
* Patrice Matamoros, executive director of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on May 5, said the marathon already was planning very tight security efforts, including periodic bomb sweeps, security officers along the entire route and strict control over the start and finish lines. Organizers have been cognizant of security since it had its own bomb scare in 2010 when an unattended device that turned out to be a microwave was found near the finish line. Personnel throughout the marathon route have been trained to get people to one of about 100 evacuation centers if something should occur, she said.
Elsewhere, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency did not increase its terrorism alert status on Tuesday, and state police have no plans to increase patrols at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Pittston Township or at the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Salem Township in the wake of the Boston explosions.
Patrols were heightened at the airport and nuclear facility after the terrorists attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
President Barack Obama ordered all U.S. flags to be lowered at all government buildings out of respect for the victims.
Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday followed by asking that Pennsylvania flags be lowered to half-staff at all state facilities.