Race officials beefing up security for Honolulu Triathlon

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The 10th Annual Honolulu Triathlon is set for Sunday. In addition to a change of course, competitors will also notice a change in security.

Preparation for the triathlon began Friday morning at Magic Island. An estimated 1,500 triathletes are expected to compete in the world-class event including hundreds from Japan.

“Our numbers are up from 400 last year up to over 600 this year. So we’re very excited,” Honolulu Triathlon Race Director J.J. Johnson said. “They stay in the hotels, they’re in the restaurants, they’re shopping in our stores. It’s good for everyone. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Last month’s bombings at the Boston Marathon forced events across the country to re-evaluate security plans. Johnson says officials in Honolulu have done just that.

“We’re actually the first big event since Boston happening here in Hawaii,” Johnson said.

While there’s no specific threat, Honolulu Police says 96 special duty officers have been hired for the event. The State Department of Public Safety says sheriffs will also be on hand.

“We have looked at our operational plan our security plan and we have beefed it up a lot. So, the athletes will notice the difference,” Johnson said.

The race starts at 5:45 a.m. Sunday. Motorists should know that once triathletes complete the 1500-meter swim at Ala Moana Beach, they’ll hit the streets of Ala Moana Boulevard for the 25-mile bike ride to Pearl Harbor.

“Last year, we actually had to divert the bike course a little bit down Queen Street. This year, we’ve gone back to the original course, so we’re staying all on Ala Moana Boulevard and Nimitz heading out towards Pearl Harbor and back,” Johnson said.

The makai side of Ala Moana Boulevard and Nimitz Highway will be closed beginning at 4 a.m. The roads are expected to reopen no later than 10 a.m.

The event wraps up with a 10K run inside Ala Moana Park.

“We know that shutting down highways and roads for them is an inconvenience. We try to do our best to be a really community partner. So, we just want to thank the general public for their support,” Johnson said.

For more information, including a map of the course, visit www.HonoluluTriathlon.com.

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