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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
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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

“We worked out a plan for the 168ers,” Gillum said. “We have a meeting place and a time scheduled for them to arrive so their packs can be subjected to a closer scrutiny from the bomb squad, and make sure we have everything safe and secured.”

Shearon, Eric Stanley, Katie Freeman, Jonathon O'Toole, Chris Murphy and Jason Loveland will continue the “Pound for Person” tradition after all.

Shearon, who served five years in the United States Marine Corps, said the decision to add three more pounds of weight was a no-brainer.

“It's pretty simple,” he said. “We carry weight for people who were lost in the bombing, and there was a bombing, and people died. So it's pretty direct.”

Gillum said other groups who contact the race authorities before Sunday can go through a similar search, and that anyone else who arrives with a backpack needs to be aware that they'll be searched.

“We're discouraging that, but if they do show up, they can be subject to a delay because law enforcement would have to take them somewhere and check that for their safety and the safety of the other runners,” Gillum said.

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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