London Marathon still on, security scrutinised

LONDON. Londoners should show their solidarity with victims of the Boston blasts during Sunday’s Marathon, according to Britain’s Sports Minister Hugh Roberston, after organisers said the iconic race will go ahead as planned.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women's and men's divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Net photo.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women's and men's divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Net photo.

LONDON. Londoners should show their solidarity with victims of the Boston blasts during Sunday’s Marathon, according to Britain’s Sports Minister Hugh Roberston, after organisers said the iconic race will go ahead as planned.

Security is being scrutinised for the London event, which will attract 36,000 runners, in the wake of Monday’s horrific scenes in Boston, where explosions near the finish line killed at least three people and wounded more than 100.

The Boston blasts, which left many people gravely injured, detonated close to spectators standing behind roadside barriers.

It was the worst bombing on U.S. soil since security was tightened after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and President Barack Obama promised to hunt down whoever was responsible for the attack on a day when tens of thousands of spectators packed the streets to watch the world-famous race.

Britain’s double Olympic champion Mo Farah is set to compete in the 26-mile (41.84 kilometres) London race, which starts at Greenwich Park and winds through some of the city’s iconic landmarks before finishing at the Mall.

Robertson said he was confident of security arrangements for the London event and encouraged people to attend as a show of solidarity with Boston.

“In security terms, we are as confident as we possibly can be that we can deliver a safe and secure marathon,” Robertson said in an interview on the BBC and Sky TV.

“We deliver major events in London, if not quite on a daily basis, on a weekly basis,” he added.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead on the investigation with help from several other U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

African runners take top honours

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa and Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo won the men’s and women’s Marathon on Monday, continuing African runners’ dominance in the sport.

The results underlined both the strength and rivalry of those two nations’ running programs, said Kenyan runner Wesley Korir, who finished fifth.

“It was more of a tactical race, the Ethiopians versus the Kenyans,” said Korir, who won the 2012 Boston Marathon. “Those guys were not fighting for time or anything, they were just racing to beat each other.”

Desisa finished in an official two hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds, besting countryman Gebregziabher Gebremariam and Kenya’s Micah Kogo in a finishing sprint.

Jeptoo closed up in an official two hours, 26 minutes and 25 seconds, crossing the finish line more than 30 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger, Meseret Hailu of Ethiopia.

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