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New Alert System Added To This Year's Dallas Turkey Trot

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Organizers say changes to this year's Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot will make the 46th annual event "a lot safer."

With close to 40,000 participants expected Thursday and with the memory of what happened at the Boston Marathon still fresh in people's minds, organizers said security this year has been enhanced.

"It's definitely top of mind for all of us," said Gordon Echtenkamp, president of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, which puts on the annual race.

This year the YMCA is encouraging participants as well as spectators to sign-up for a new free cell phone notification system called RedFlag.

By texting the word "TROT" to 444-222, runners will be on a list to receive text messages in case of an emergency.

"What we do is decrease the likelihood of confusions and misinformation and increase overall public safety as a result," said Brian Teague, who's Dallas based company PocketStop came up with RedFlag.

Teague said the system has been used before but never at an event as large as Thursday's Turkey Trot.

Monday, hundreds picked-up their race bibs and t-shirts at the Luke's Locker on Mockingbird Lane. Many of them immediately signed-up for the alerts.

"So many people use the technology now so it's kind of a no brainer to me," said Debbie Way who has been running in the Turkey Trot with her family for nearly 25 years. "I think the world that we live in now we have to think about those things unfortunately more often than we like."

(©2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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