It’s that time of year again: The Peoples United Bank Vermont City Marathon is just a few days away.
This year, about 2,500 marathon runners and 5,000 relay runners will hit the pavement of Burlington on Sunday, May 27th. The races begin at 7 a.m. in Battery Park.
The City of Burlington recently renovated part of the city bike path along the waterfront. The improvements will give the runners a new view of the water as they complete the last five miles of the race.
“For people that don’t know the course, it’s actually amazing. The last five miles are literally on a bike path going right down Lake Champlain, so it’s a pretty spectacular view,” said Michael Dabbs, an 11-year veteran of the VCM.
The changes have also opened up the area around the bike path, which will allow for spectators and supporters to spread out and cheer on the runners as they sprint the course’s final stretch.
“For the spectators at the end, because of the renovation, its much easier to migrate a little bit farther north and kind of spread yourself out over those last couple of miles to provide support in a place that historically, didn’t’ have as much support for people just because it was more difficult to get to,” said Dabbs.
More spectators means more security and safety measures by law enforcement.
“We have about 70 officers assigned to both traffic posts and security detail. In addition to that we have outside agencies coming in to sweep areas with bomb dogs, and that sort of thing to ensure the safety of the participants and spectators,” said Burlington police Lt. Matthew Sullivan.
As the streets begin to flood with people, Sullivan shares some helpful safety tips for the busy weekend.
“I think one of the main things with an event like this, especially for participants coming down with a lot of gear, is to not leave bags unattended. That creates issues for the security portion of the event.”
Sullivan says its best to bring all belongings in plastic bag. That way, if they are left unattended, everything can be screened easily.