London Marathon runners pounded the capital's streets today after earlier holding half a minute's silence in memory of those who died in the Boston bomb attacks.
Amid tightened security to reassure the racers and crowds, there was a 30-second silence just before the start of the men’s elite race and mass start at 10am. Among the many thousands watching the race was Prince Harry, who paid tribute to the “remarkable” way the people of Boston had coped after the two bombs which exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon last Monday.
Many of the 36,000 fun-runners, athletes and fundraisers wore black ribbons in a show of solidarity after three people were killed and 180 injured in the Massachusetts blasts. Virgin London Marathon has pledged to donate £2 for every finisher in today's event to a fund set up to raise money for victims of the explosions. But organisers have stressed that as well as showing defiance and spirit in the showpiece event, the participants would have fun around the famous 26.2-mile course.
As usual the route was filled with runners in all kinds of fancy dress, including people dressed as a Roman soldier, Batman and Jack Sparrow.
Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede came first in the men’s race while Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo won the women’s.
Earlier Geoff Wightman, the event commentator, announced over loudspeakers before the half-minute silence: “Marathon running is a global sport. It unites runners and supporters on every continent in pursuit of a common challenge and in the spirit of friendship and fellowship.
“This week the world marathon family was shocked and saddened by the events at the Boston Marathon.
“In a few moments a whistle will sound and we will join together in silence to remember our friends and colleagues for whom a day of joy turned into a day of sadness. Let us now show our respect and support for the victims of the tragedy in Boston.”
The silence appeared to be perfectly observed.