The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 21, 2013

London race: Tributes to Boston, extra security

— LONDON (AP) — A defiant, festive mood prevailed Sunday as the London Marathon began on a glorious spring day despite concerns raised by the bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon six days ago.

Thousands of runners offered tributes to those killed and injured in Boston. The race began after a moment of silence for the victims in Boston, and many here wore black armbands as a sign of solidarity.

"It means that runners are stronger than bombers," said Valerie Bloomfield, a 40-year-old participant from France.

London's is the first major international marathon since the double-bomb attack near the finish line in Boston, which left three people dead and more than 170 injured, including many who are still hospitalized. In addition, a policeman was killed during the search for the two suspected bombers. One suspect was killed during a shootout with police, while a second has been arrested.

Some 36,000 runners were expected to take part in the London race, which also draws tens of thousands of spectators. Police said they planned to add 40 percent more officers and extra surveillance as a precautionary measure.

Most runners in London said they weren't worried by the Boston bombings, and the impressive turnout of enthusiastic fans lining the routes showed the same spirit.

David Wilson, 45, said there was no question of canceling the marathon. He noted that Londoners had come back onto the streets the day after the lethal July 7, 2005, transit system bombings and weren't easily cowed.

"You can't not do anything, because otherwise you'd stay on the outs all the time," he said.

But Chris Denton, a 44-year-old engineer stretching his legs by the start line, acknowledged an undercurrent of anxiety. He'd asked that his family not come out to support him because of a possible copycat attack. "I left them at home," he said. "If only for my peace of mind."

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