Mini Marathon steps up security after Boston bombings

Runners will be given plastic bags.
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The 500 Festival Mini Marathon is the largest half-marathon in the country. Public safety officials and race organizers started working on new rules minutes after the Boston Marathon bombings. Runners will see several new rules for Saturday's race at Military Park.

Like other Boston Marathon runners, John Wolff's race was overshadowed by terrorism.

"It became very evident that something had gone horrible wrong," said John Wolff.

The Indianapolis native ran his first Boston Marathon fast. He completed 26.2 miles in three hours and eighteen minutes.  Wolff crossed the finish line before the bombings. He was one of around 300 Hoosiers who ran the Boston Marathon.

"Immediately after what happened in Boston, I knew our community had changed. I knew that this was going to change the way races were run," said Wolff.

John Wolff will join nearly 35,000 runners for Saturday's 500 Festival Mini Marathon at Military Park.  Wolff admits at Saturday's race he'll do things differently.

"When it comes to the Mini, I will keep an eye on things more. You tend to be in your own world," said Wolff.

500 Festival organizers said there will be more police this year, more K-9s, and for the first time ever, runners cannot bring their own bags.

Every racer will get a plastic bag to store their gear that they will receive in their race packet.

If a spectator wants to bring a bag, it will most likely be searched. That could happen anywhere along the 13.1 mile course. So, if a National Guardsman or police officer wants to check a spectator's bag, they will.

"We ask people to use their best judgment. Bring smaller bags or use these plastic bags. A lot people bring in food and drinks so it was hard to ask not to bring them in," Megan Bulla with the 500 Festival.

There will also be more National Guardsmen near the start and finish lines this year.

No one without a runner's bib will be able to get in the corral areas.

See the Mini Marathon's safety updates here.

This year's Mini takes place on Saturday, May 4th.