Top Tips for Spring Marathon Safety:
Protecting Runners, Spectators & Crowds
Restrictions have eased in many parts of the U.S., so runners and race directors are prepping for a busy 2022 marathon season. As thousands of race enthusiasts hit the streets to train, event planners and city officials map out courses and brainstorm marathon security measures.
The spread-out nature of races and endurance events creates unique security demands. To ensure a safe, fun race day, SONCO recommends field-tested safety equipment like steel barricades, high-visibility cones, outdoor stanchions and extra-tall FenceCade barriers. Backed by nearly five decades of perimeter and crowd security experience, we are proud to partner with marathon safety committees this spring.
Marathon Safety Requires Strategic Partnerships
- To ensure you have the best equipment for marathon crowd control and traffic safety, meet with a strategic industry partner like SONCO. High-quality marathon perimeter products (like affordable FenceCade barrier fences) help keep your raceway protected and your budget in the black.
- Participant and spectator safety at sporting events always presents new challenges, so NCS4 and the Road Runners Club of America publish guidelines and best practices for marathon security. Communicating with these organizations keeps you informed about the latest ways to protect runners and spectators.
- Marathons often cross municipal boundaries, requiring liaisons with civic, law enforcement and business leaders in multiple districts. Pre-race meetings are the perfect time to discuss race and marathon safety ideas. Remember to invite local leaders for valuable insight on security threats, course traffic hazards, surveillance and necessary health measures.
Staging & Pre-Race Marathon Safety
Since the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, race managers have foregone spontaneous participation for runners and volunteers. Walk-on racers complicate security measures, so it’s best to control entry by keeping unregistered runners and spectators off the course. Identify volunteers and registered racers with race bibs and vests, and protect them by ensuring that pre-race prep and instructions include:
- Clear bags to visibly store racer possessions
- Runner hydration stations at the starting line
- Event Alert System cards in case of adverse weather
- Clearly marked starting lines & lanes to avoid excess congestion
- Adequate personnel to check runners & volunteers for race bibs & identifying vests
Marathon Safety Along the Course
A well-defined and patrolled raceway is the best way to prevent off-course mishaps and dangerous traffic interactions. SONCO recommends marking your marathon course with race cones, pedestrian barricades and signage. Our experienced crowd control specialists manufacture traffic cones and barriers that are highly visible and rugged enough for adverse weather and enthusiastic crowds.
Race directors also use staging measures like these to prevent accidents and elevate marathon security:
- Frequent, clearly marked water stations & first-aid posts
- Official aerial surveillance — without private drones
- Police at major intersections & race marshals along the route
- Working communications system for race officials & staff
- Backpack- & purse-free zone for spectators
- Sturdy interlocking spectator barriers lining the course
Security & Marathon Crowd Control at the Finish Line
Distressed racers and a surge of finishers mark your race’s end, so securing the finish line and protecting runner privacy is crucial. Use steel bike rack barricades and temporary fencing to shield runners from rowdy crowds, and ask our team about extra-tall FenceCade barriers for added safety.
Marathon safety concerns now prohibit chaotic, end-of-race crowd interaction, so consider these alternate scenarios to prioritize participant security:
- Printed FenceCade covers direct race participants into finish line chutes, where friends and family watch them complete the race.
- Stanchions and barriers channelize well-wishers into post-marathon gathering zones, where they can congregate and interact with race finishers.
Own the Race With Branded Signage From SONCO
Displaying easy-to-read, branded signage — from starting gate to finish line — makes race day flow efficiently. Banners and printed barricade covers help participants identify marathon courses and remind crews, runners and spectators about race security rules and safety concerns. When you partner with SONCO, you’ll enjoy one-stop shopping that includes barriers, crowd-control equipment, and in-house design and print services.
SONCO’s on-site creative team designs tents, banners, flags and barricade covers printed with your logo or graphics. These products deliver coordinated messaging at unbeatable prices, with large-format print expertise at your fingertips. Save even more when you bundle SONCO traffic cones, barriers, storage racks and signs to create your custom race day package! Our safety specialists provide no-obligation estimates when you request a bid online.
Additional Marathon-Day Security Resources
Don’t miss our metal barricade guide for more information about event barricade features and benefits! This comprehensive article covers everything you need to know about event-friendly steel barriers, including applications and deployment recommendations.
Using temp fencing for your next big race? Check out this recent post about SONCO’s U.S.-made fence panels, and get the technical specs you need for savvy marathon planning.