Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Marathon officials discourage runners from bringing backpacks

Special security arrangements have been made for the ‘Pound for Person' team. Otherwise, the general message race executives are sending is not to bring backpacks to race.
by Jason Kersey Published: April 26, 2013

photo - These five men will participate in Sunday's Memorial Marathon carrying 168 pounds that will be distributed among their backpacks, symbolizing the 168 people who were killed in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995.  Posing with the west wall of the Memorial as a backdrop are, from left, Jake Adkins, Chris Murphy, John O'Toole, Sean Shearon and Eric Stanley on Wednesday, April 27, 2011  Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
These five men will participate in Sunday's Memorial Marathon carrying 168 pounds that will be distributed among their backpacks, symbolizing the 168 people who were killed in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. Posing with the west wall of the Memorial as a backdrop are, from left, Jake Adkins, Chris Murphy, John O'Toole, Sean Shearon and Eric Stanley on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

The Boston Marathon bombing created some added burden — three extra pounds of weight, some brief uncertainty and now a pre-race security check — for Sean Shearon and his “Pound for Person” team of marathon runners.

Leon Gillum, security director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, said the general message race executives want to send the public regarding backpacks at Sunday's marathon is to discourage bringing them.

“But our private statement, if we have people who are contacting us directly, is that we have a procedure in place and a time that we can direct them to,” Gillum said.

The past two years, Shearon's six-person group has run the entire 26.2-mile trek with backpacks totaling 168 pounds, signifying the 168 lives lost in the Murrah Building bombing April 19, 1995.

After the Boston attack, which killed three people, Shearon decided his team would carry 171 pounds this year to honor those victims.

Wednesday, Shearon contacted Gillum to get clarification on what would and wouldn't be allowed, considering the Boston bombers used backpacks to transport their weapons.

Gillum apologized, but told Shearon no backpacks would be permitted.

“We started exploring options to move the weight, or carry the weight, or different ways to display the weight,” Shearon said.

But the next day, Gillum made arrangements for Shearon and his team to have their bags go through a special security check Sunday morning.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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