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Fort Worth Gearing Up For The 2014 Cowtown Marathon

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The expected spring-like weather this weekend is good news for the thousands of people ready to run the Cowtown Marathon this weekend.

A lot of participants are running the Cowtown because the Dallas Marathon was cancelled in December, due to an ice storm.

There are big changes this year – for those running race and others just hanging out to cheer on athletes.

Some 30,000 runners are expected to take off from the starting line at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Those heading out to downtown Fort Worth will want to know about changes in the 2104 race. For one – there will be no backpacks allowed. Runners can only bring clear plastic bags to hold their times.

Fort Worth police will also have a big presence in and around downtown. There will be extra police officers and bomb detecting dogs sweeping the area all weekend.

♦♦♦ Click Here To Find Out More About The Cowtown Marathon Race Routes ♦♦♦

Though the race isn't until Sunday morning, barricades were up and in place Friday afternoon and traffic around the Will Rogers Center was already building.

Runner Tom Ramano will be among those pressing to get to the finish line Sunday. "This will be my 50th," he said excitedly.

The 57-year-old Ramano came to Fort Worth by way of Italy. "I'm nervous because I am very competitive."

Organizers are expecting a lot of runners from the Dallas Marathon and thousands more poised to take their places on the sidelines to cheer on the runners.

Security measures are being taken very seriously, especially since this is the first long distance race run in a major American city since the Boston Marathon.

In addition to the extra officers and K-9 police patrolling the area, additional video surveillance cameras have been installed around the Will Rogers Center.

Cowtown Marathon Executive Director Heidi Swartz said, "We wanted to make it [police presence] a little more visible because we want to make sure all the runners and spectators feel secure."

Runner Kerrie Sheehe said she is trying to keep her mind focused on the race itself. "I'm not going to worry about it I feel bad for those other races that have had some unfortunate things that have happened… but one day at a time."

Runners aren't the only ones gearing up fir the big race. Businesses are preparing for an influx of people.

Bekah Hale, owner of the Hale House -- a vintage shop on Montgomery Street, prepares for the race every year. "It's great for business," she said.

The store is opening on Sunday just because of the race crowd.

"The finish line will be right across the street from the business," Hale said. "It will just give women an opportunity to shop while their husbands and boyfriends are running the race."

Race organizers told CBS 11 News some 30 active duty soldiers from some of the army recruiting offices will be in Fort Worth as part of the stepped up security.

Officers will also be stopping traffic on the race route for runner's safety. Drivers should expect delays on University and Montgomery, north of Interstate-30 from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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