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Indy 500 tightens security in wake of Boston bombings

A general view of the drivers meeting for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana May 25, 2013. REU
A general view of the drivers meeting for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana May 25, 2013. REU

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Security at Sunday's Indianapolis 500 will be ramped up as race officials of one of the year's biggest one-day sporting events respond to last month's deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

Officials of the race, which routinely attracts crowds of about 300,000 to the sprawling 2.5 mile oval, said the added security steps include closing traffic on a major route into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and banning oversized coolers.

While the enhanced security will cause some headaches, the sight of runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon completing the distance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is sure to provide one of the inspirational moments of the day.

About 35 runners will run about one-half mile from Turn Four to one of the most famous finish lines in all of sports - the Yard of Bricks - about 10 minutes before the start of the race.

All of the participants in the ceremonial run were prevented from finishing the Boston Marathon as the race was halted when two pressure cooker bombs left at the finish line exploded in a crowd of thousands of spectators and athletes, killing three people and injuring 264 others.

"The tragedy last month in Boston still resonates with everyone, so we wanted to give runners the chance to finish the race in front of thousands of fans who will appreciate their persistence and determination," said Doug Boles, IMS chief operating officer.

"Everyone will remember the victims while also celebrating the strength and indomitable spirit of these special competitors as they cross the hallowed Yard of Bricks."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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