LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - More than 16,000 runners and supporters were surrounded by a heavy law enforcement presence during the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon.
On site preparations began dark and early downtown Louisville before the start of the 7:30 a.m. race. K-9 units sniffed the route for the first time during a security sweep Saturday morning.
"I think it's great. Looks like police are everywhere. It's what it needs to be unfortunately," Michael Wilson said.
By daylight, there were a lot of eyes on the massive crowd. "We can't live in fear, so we're to support my granddaughters running," said Carol Tedesco.
Local and federal law enforcement were around every corner of the route making sure they were accessible to runners and spectators.
Several new rules were enforced during the race, including banning "bandit" runners who take part in the race without registering for it. Race personnel required everyone running to have a bib so they could be easily identified. Spectators, runners and bystanders were also not allowed to bring backpacks or strollers. However, WAVE 3 crews located several banned items during the race. Race personnel said they would be subject to random inspection.
"Certainly I think people understand the additional security measures are for the safety of themselves and everyone at the event," KDF spokesperson Robert Young said.
Runners who check gear during the race were also required to use clear plastic bags provided by race staff.
Some supporters like Kim Haniszewski avoided the finish line. "I'm hesitant to be any closer because of what happened," she said.
Spectators like Michael Wilson kept their eyes and ears on edge. "You just see a lot of people aware. That's what we've all got to be - aware. It's not just up to our law enforcement community. It's up to all of us," Wilson said.
Law enforcement did not report any arrests or incidents causing concern during the KDF race.
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