New Bedford Prepares for Sunday’s Half-Marathon
Despite some wintry weather in the forecast, one of the sure signs of spring is happening this Sunday.
The 40th annual New Bedford Half-Marathon takes place beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday morning, even if we get the expected couple inches of snow.
Race Director Dan McCarthy says with 39 years of not once cancelling the race, there's no way a little snow will make this the first time it happens.
"All the contingency plans are in place," McCarthy said in an appearance on WBSM. "(Race organizers The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick) have been in constant contact with the city and with (Department of Public Infrastructure) and the amazing staff they have. All the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, so we're looking forward to a great race on Sunday."
McCarthy said there is an army of volunteers that will help clear out any snow in front of City Hall, along the 13-mile race route and at the race's seven water stops, if necessary.
Roads on the course will close by five minutes of 11, and the race course is expected to be closed for a total of three hours. McCarthy said that as runners pass, many streets will re-open throughout the course, such as in the North End and along Hathaway Road, but others will have to wait awhile.
"We understand, for residents of the South End and down on the peninsula, it's a prolonged street closure," he said. "So we appreciate your understanding."
McCarthy said parking on the race course is not permitted, and vehicles will be towed. The city offers free parking at the Elm Street and Zeiterion garages, as well as at the Whale's Tooth Parking Lot.
The race is expected to bring over 3,000 runners into New Bedford, in addition to about 1,000 volunteers and between 2,000-5,000 spectators. With all of those people crowding into the downtown area, McCarthy said in addition to the 120 police officers assigned to the race, additional security will be out in droves to keep everyone safe.
"Bristol County Task Force, local municipalities, we have Department of Homeland Security, State Police," McCarthy said. "There is a big presence, and there's a lot of things involved in making sure we have additional security."
Runners and spectators are asked to not bring bags to the course, as backpacks, suitcases and rolling bags will not be permitted near the Start/Finish area. New Bedford Police also ask anyone to report any suspicious activity either before, after or during the race.