Chicago marathon ups security after Boston bombings

A woman attaches a prayer ribbon outside Arlington Street Church, near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings, on July 4, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts. Chicago Marathon organisers and city officials on Thursday announced new procedures designed t
A woman attaches a prayer ribbon outside Arlington Street Church, near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings, on July 4, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts. Chicago Marathon organisers and city officials on Thursday announced new procedures designed to improve security in the wake of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

CHICAGO, Illinois (AFP) - Chicago Marathon organisers and city officials on Thursday announced new procedures designed to improve security in the wake of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April.

The race on Oct 13 will mark the first major marathon in a United States (US) city since two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 200.

The Chicago event draws some 45,000 participants and 1.7 million spectators annually.

Starting this year, all registered runners must pick up their own participant packets, which include their event-issued bib numbers and other race-related and promotional material. In past years, individuals could pick up packets on behalf of others.

As in years past, the start and finish line areas in Grant Park will be closed to general spectators, but officials stressed that this policy would be strictly enforced and only those with competitor bibs or race credentials will be allowed.

All individuals entering Grant Park on race day will have to go through one of four designated security and bag screening checkpoints.

Spectators are discouraged from carrying bags into the park, and runners will only be able to carry a clear, plastic event-issued bag - designed to speed security screening.

Spectators were urged to support runners from other parts of the course, and meet runners after the race at the designated Runner Reunite Area in Grant Park's Butler Field.

The Chicago Marathon announcement came on the same day that a US grand jury in Boston indicted a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for lying to police during the investigation.

Robel Phillipos, 19, was charged with two counts of making false statements to police during a probe into the April 15 attack.

Two weeks earlier, two other friends of Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to charges of impeding the investigation.

Dzhokar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilt to 30 counts, 17 of which are punishable by death, in the Boston attack while his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev - the accused mastermind of the attack - was killed in a police shoot-out.