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London Marathon Runners in Solidarity With Boston

London Marathon Runners in Solidarity With Bostoni
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April 21, 2013 7:28 PM
Less than one week after a marathon in Boston was hit by fatal bombings, London hosted its own international marathon on Sunday. As Selah Hennessy reports for VOA from London, the atmosphere was enthusiastic as runners raced in solidarity with the victims of Boston’s attack.
London Marathon Runners in Solidarity With Boston
Selah Hennessy
Less than one week after a marathon in Boston was hit by fatal bombings, London hosted its international marathon. The atmosphere in the British capital was enthusiastic as runners raced in solidarity with the victims of Boston’s attack.

Before the start of Sunday’s marathon, runners observed a 30-second silence to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

This was the first race in the World Marathon Majors series since the Boston attack last Monday, which killed three people and injured almost 200.

But security fears did not stop runners from turning out on Sunday. More than 35,000 people ran the 42-kilometer race.

And it did not keep fans at home either. The route was crammed with spectators, hollering as their friends and family raced past.

With security up by 40 percent and police positioned at every corner, the crowds said they felt safe.

"We have had the experience of the Olympics this summer, so our police and security forces are well up to speed with what to do," said one female spectator.

Also, onlookers said they felt a sense of solidarity in light of what happened in Boston.

A runner carrying a US flag passes the shadows of spectators during the London Marathon April 21, 2013.A runner carrying a US flag passes the shadows of spectators during the London Marathon April 21, 2013.
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A runner carrying a US flag passes the shadows of spectators during the London Marathon April 21, 2013.
A runner carrying a US flag passes the shadows of spectators during the London Marathon April 21, 2013.
"Everybody has just really grouped together this year. And I just think everybody is like, ‘No, we are not going to let anything stop us.’  I think it has actually made people come here more this year than they have before," said another woman who came to the see race.

Similar expressions of solidarity came from male spectators.

"There is nothing that happens anywhere, whether it is here or there, that changes what we do here," said one man.

"You have to carry on. It is tragic, but you have to carry on," said another.

Runner Andy Holloway finished in two-hours, 59 minutes and 24 seconds.  He was happy with his time, but said his thoughts were also with Boston.

"Runners are part of a community, and especially marathon runners, and with the events in Boston last week it touched us all because we can relate to what those people were doing in running a marathon."

Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede won the race with an unofficial time of two hours, six minutes and four seconds.

Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya was the first-place runner in the elite women's event.

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