Antwerp is gearing up to host the third edition of the Antwerp Marathon this Sunday, with an anticipated record-breaking turnout of 12,000 participants. However, security measures have been

intensified in response to an increased threat level following a recent terrorist attack in Brussels, which tragically claimed two lives.

Despite the heightened state of vigilance, the event's organizers at Golazo have assured that security checks will primarily involve informational questions, with the goal of preventing participants from withdrawing due to anxiety. Nevertheless, individuals who registered this week have been informed that sports bags and backpacks may undergo inspection.

"The Antwerp Marathon organizers understand the significance of runners having dry and warm clothes upon finishing the race but kindly request all participants to minimize the number of personal items, encourage leaving as many bags as possible with family or friends, and prepare for potential wait times at the storage area," the organizers stated on Friday. Spokesman Gert Van Goolen emphasized that the intention is to prevent long queues rather than imposing an outright ban on backpacks.

Recent events, including the conflict in Gaza and the Brussels attack on Monday, have put cities throughout Europe on high alert. In Ghent, two squares were evacuated early Wednesday after the discovery of a suspicious package. Additionally, Ostend airport in West Flanders temporarily underwent evacuation due to a potential bomb threat on Wednesday.

Following the tragic attack in Brussels on Monday night, where a gunman took the lives of two Swedish nationals, the Belgian government escalated the threat level for the entire country to level 3, which is the second-highest on a scale ranging from 1 to 4. Photo by Chris Brown, Wikimedia commons.