Texas Relays spectators take cover during severe weather threat - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Texas Relays spectators take cover during severe weather threat

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About 6,500 athletes are in town right now for the 87th Annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

According to the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, in years past the event has brought a total of 45,000 visitors and an $8 million economic boost to the city.

For Ricki Scheef from Edmond, Oklahoma, it's just fun.

"It's so fun! It's so fun to be around people that actually like running and are supporting of it...it's really exciting to run on a big track like that," Scheef said.

And for Tyler Ford from Arlington...with thousands of athletes in one spot, it can be a little much.

"It's pretty cool of course but a bunch of fast people. Some of the best kids in the state. So that's really intimidating," Ford said.

In previous years, there have been concerns about crime associated with Texas Relays. Both Austin P.D. and UTPD say that's just not the case.

"What we do is besides our normal patrol shift that we have we bring in extra officers to staff the event to work the traffic around the outside as people are coming in and we have officers inside the stadium providing security," said Captain Gonzalo Gonzalez with UTPD.

Austin Police say this year they have enough patrol cars to place them next to barricades. APD says they're not doing it because of what happened at SXSW.

"We're gonna conspicuously mark the intersections, not only with a barricade but also with a patrol car. We hope that deters people from entering restricted areas. Unfortunately no amount of police presence can prevent an individual from committing a violent act if they choose to," said Lt. Vincent Hernandez with Austin Police Special Events.

UTPD says the severe weather plan is to evacuate everyone from the track stadium to the football stadium to get under the bleachers there.

Friday afternoon, that plan was put into action as a storm system came close to dumping hail on spectators along with some bad lightning.

"Yeah I woke her up, I was like 'We've got to go Ricki, let's go! We have to evacuate' and she was really calm about it! But...I was scared," said Rhandi Jackson from Oklahoma.

Austin Police say Friday night and Saturday night, East 6th Street between Brazos and the West frontage road of I-35 will be closed for foot traffic.

Also, the 500 and 600 blocks of Sabine, Red River, Neches, Trinity and San Jacinto streets will be closed.

Austin Police say pay attention to the "no parking" signs because they will tow you.

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