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Officials ready for Army Marathon II

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Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014 4:30 am

BELTON — While marathon runners have been training for the Army Marathon II for months, they won’t be the only people showcasing their skills.

Sunday’s marathon will bring together 200 to 300 police, firemen and EMS workers from Killeen to Temple for the event.

“Last year’s race went off without a hitch and I’m confident this year it’s going to be the same thing,” Belton County Sheriff Eddy Lange said.

Lange took questions and laid out some of the details about race day closures, functions and changes in roads around Bell County during a news conference Thursday at the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.

Last year’s marathon took place six days after two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon. The explosions killed three and injured about 260 others.

Because of the terrorist attack, law enforcement agencies as well as first responders from across Bell County were on high alert and the course included bomb-sniffing dogs along the route.

This year’s event is less stressful to plan because law enforcement agencies have been through it before.

“It is easier this year because we’ve been through it once and we know what it takes to put this event together,” Lange said. “The players are all back from last year.”

The sheriff’s department along with police from Killeen, Harker Heights, Belton and Temple will work together at the event.

Same playbook

Army Marathon race director Ed Bandas said the organizers started planning out specifics and working on race-day details soon after the first race was run last year.

“It’s almost like exercising a playbook,” Bandas said. “All the contingencies, all of the plans, everything was already there. This is the first time we’ve been able to put it all together.”

Bandas also reiterated the importance of making sure people give themselves extra time if they are driving near the vicinity of the course.

Organizers plan to begin blocking off lanes at 6 a.m. Sunday for the 7 a.m. race start. Bandas said the best way to access the starting line and get to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center is through Elms Road. The best way to get to the finish line in Temple is taking a shuttle bus from the Scott & White West Campus parking lot to Airport Boulevard.

People can register for the marathon, half marathon or 5k through 6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, go to thearmymarathon.com or call Bandas at 210-632-2800.

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