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Published on April 12, 2024
Boston Marathon Boosts Security Measures, Adds Miles of Barricades Ahead of Patriots Day RaceSource: Google Street View

Marathon runners in Boston can expect to see more barricades along their path this Patriots Day, as race officials aim to prevent a repeat of last year's confrontation involving police and spectators. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) is set to quickly make changes for the upcoming Boston Marathon by adding four additional miles of barricades at various high-traffic points, including Ashland, Natick, Newton, Wellesley, and Boston, according to Boston Herald.

However, the move hasn't been solely for the safety of athletes and the fluidity of the race. "This infrastructure has been added for multiple purposes including crowd support, wayfinding and branding obligations," the BAA said in a statement obtained by Boston Herald. Fences aren't the only new addition this year, as the BAA's mobile app now includes a 'Spectator Guidelines' feature, which users must agree to before they're able to track runners along the course.

Last year's editorial misstep between the BAA and local police at Heartbreak Hill, where a racially diverse group of spectators were restricted by police while cheering on competitors, has not been forgotten. As a result, Jack Fleming, president and CEO of the BAA, issued a mea culpa: "Simply put, [BAA] did not do a good job last year communicating the longstanding policy that we need a clear course – free of spectators or other disruptions – to assure our 30,000 participants have an unobstructed path for all 26.2 miles," as reported by

Guidelines clearly state that spectators are not allowed, in any manner, to enter the course, run alongside athletes, or otherwise impede the competitors. "Any person on the course without an official race bib or accreditation will be directed to leave the course immediately," as per the new guidelines shared in the BAA statement. The organization is also keen to prevent spectators from throwing items such as confetti or bottles onto the course and asks for a respectful demeanor toward everyone involved in the event.

Last year's incident particularly affected members of Pioneers Run Crew, a Black- and Brown-led running group, as they faced unexpected police restrictions while attempting to support the marathoners. Following the controversy, the BAA has ramped up its efforts to assure a smoother race day through both physical barriers and a shared understanding of conduct, aiming to steer clear of any ambiguity or mishap during the marathon. With these preparations in place, fans and runners alike can look forward to a well-organized event come Marathon Monday.