Security will be heightened this weekend as more than 5,000 runners — an all-time high — are expected to participate in the 46th annual Long Island Marathon and its related races, officials announced Wednesday.
A contingent of 337 Nassau police officers will direct traffic at 167 posts along the revamped marathon route, county Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a news conference in Mineola.
And while there is no specific threat to the event, security will be enhanced by members of the county’s Bureau of Special Operations’ SWAT team, Homeland Security, K-9, and Arson/Bomb and Emergency Services units, who will be equipped with portable radiation detectors.
"This is a great day and a lot of fun to be had," Ryder said. "But security is our priority."
Bags and backpacks belonging to runners must be clear and plastic and are subject to inspection from K-9 units, Ryder said.
On Saturday, the county will host a one-mile fun run and a 5k race. The action heats up Sunday morning with the 10k, half-marathon and a full 26.2-mile marathon.
From its title sponsor to the route, event enhancement and spectator rules, the NEFCU Long Island Marathon is significantly different from recent years.
The marathon will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Eisenhower Park. In the past, athletes started on Charles Lindbergh Boulevard in Uniondale near the Nassau Coliseum. Spectators will be allowed near the starting line, another departure from previous races. The marathon ends about 2 p.m.
Runners will move down Merrick Avenue and head through Cedar Creek Park in Seaford and onto the Wantagh Parkway, exit at Old Country Road, and then head back toward the finish line at Eisenhower Park.
To make the race more accessible to spectators and scenic for athletes, those navigating the marathon will spend less time on the Wantagh Parkway, which has an absence of much scenery.
"The marathon has been re-imagined this year with new and more interesting courses," said County Executive Laura Curran, who will participate in the 5k run.
Eisenhower Park will be closed to vehicles from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday while multiple major arterials across the county will be subject to closure. Those roadways include Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Stewart Avenue, Merrick Avenue, Park Boulevard, Hempstead Turnpike; Bellmore Avenue, Sunrise Highway; Merrick Road; Old Country Road; Carman Avenue, Wantagh Parkway and the Meadowbrook State Parkway entrances and exits.
To monitor traffic patterns, Curran said the county has installed 12 fixed traffic cameras and 10 portable cameras on spots along the route.
In addition to the new event sponsor, other changes to the marathon festivities include the additions of the Long Island Health and Fitness Expo and a food truck festival.
Long Island Marathon road closures
Charles Lindbergh Blvd. (entire loop): 6 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Stewart Avenue (Merchant’s Concourse / Endo Blvd. to Merrick Ave): 6 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Merrick Avenue (Old Country Rd. to Hempstead Turnpike): 6 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Park Boulevard (Hempstead Turnpike to Merrick Ave.): 6 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Westbound Hempstead Turnpike (Wantagh Parkway to Merrick Ave): 6 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Merrick Avenue (Hempstead Turnpike to Bellmore Ave.): 6 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Bellmore Avenue (Merrick Ave. to Jerusalem Ave.): 6 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Bellmore Avenue (Jerusalem Ave. to Sunrise Highway): 6 a.m.-noon
Westbound Sunrise Highway (Bellmore Ave. to Wantagh Parkway): 6 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Merrick Road (Jones Ave. to Pine St.): 6 a.m.-1 p.m.
Old Country Road (Duffy Ave. to Carman Ave.): 7:15 a.m.- 1:15 p.m.
Carman Avenue (Old Country Road to Hempstead Turnpike): 7:15 a.m.- 2:15 p.m.
Stewart Avenue (Carman Ave. to Salisbury Park Dr.): 7:15 a.m.- 2:15 p.m.
Wantagh Parkway (Northern State Parkway to Ocean Parkway): 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
Meadowbrook State Parkway exits and entrances to and from Charles Lindbergh Boulevard (Nassau Coliseum, Nassau Community College) and Eisenhower Park exits, as well as the exit onto eastbound Stewart Avenue, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Eisenhower Park’s Park Boulevard will not allow through traffic from 5 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Public parking in sections of the park will be permitted until 6 a.m.