Boston ramps up security ahead of first marathon since bombing


BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston officials vowed on Saturday to balance tight security with a feeling of fun at the coming Boston Marathon, the first running of the world-renown race since the bomb attack last year killed three people and injured 264.

Officials advised residents and visitors to expect a large police presence through the week leading up to the April 21 race, starting with a memorial service attended by Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the attack.

"It will be the Boston Marathon as it has always been," Mayor Martin Walsh said during a press conference in front of city hall. "Our goal is for everyone to enjoy the race."

Walsh said the city has prepared extensive security measures for preventing as well as responding to emergencies.

Over 100 cameras have been installed at more than 50 observation points along the Boston portion of the course.

The two ethnic Chechen brothers suspected of planting the bombs at the finish line were identified using footage taken from security camera.

One of the brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died after a gun battle with police several days after the attack while the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is awaiting trial.

Officials also emphasized that increased security will be found not just at the finish line, but along the entire course. Though all major marathons are a challenge to secure, given the 26.2 mile spread, the Boston Marathon's route through eight municipalities makes it all the harder for security officials to coordinate protocols.

Preparations are also under way to help those affected by the bombings last year cope with feelings that might be triggered by the anniversary, officials said.

"The first anniversary of a disaster is always difficult," said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Boston public health commission.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson)

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