Runners 'strike a blow' as NYC marathon starts

 

Thousands of runners have set off on the New York City Marathon, pledging to strike a blow to terrorism. To cheers from the crowd, 30,000 athletes streamed across the city's Verrazano Bridge. The race is dedicated to the victims of the September 11 atrocities.

Security was tight, with more than 3,000 police patrolling the streets and bomb sniffer dogs at the start and finish areas. Armed National Guardsmen were posted at all the city's bridges.

No changes were made to the route because it does not pass the Ground Zero site.

New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani says there has never been a more important time for the race to take place.

"Thousands of athletes and millions of New Yorkers are lining up united in their feeling that we are a free country and we are not afraid to exercise that freedom," he said.

PA