Spectators at London Marathon ‘not scared away’ by Boston bombings

14:38 21 April 2013

Spectators lined the route of the Virgin London Marathon 2013 despite the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

Spectators lined the route of the Virgin London Marathon 2013 despite the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

PA Wire

Supporters at today’s London Marathon were “more determined” than ever to line the streets despite the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Enthusiastic well-wishers expressed their defiance and said they were undeterred by the fatal bombings at the Boston Marathon, which sparked heightened security at today’s event.

There was a period of silence before the start of the London race this morning, and thousands of runners are wearing black ribbons in a show of solidarity with the US city.

One American man lending his support to the runners said he could not begin to imagine what it was like for those who witnessed the Boston attack, which killed three people including an eight-year-old boy.

Jay Blatnik, 26, from Wisconsin, said he did not know anyone taking part in the marathon, but wanted to come to see it regardless - and events in Boston were not going to stop him.

He said: “It didn’t cross my mind about not coming. Maybe in the back of my mind I thought ‘I’m not afraid of coming out. It’s not scaring me away’.

“I can’t even imagine what that was like.

“I assume it was like this atmosphere and then in an instant it changed.

“Not only from the spectators’ point of view but also the runners’ point of view.”

As the sound of a helicopter whirred overhead and the continuous wall of cheers greeted passing runners on London’s Birdcage Walk, Hugh Elder, 64, from just a few streets away, said he had witnessed an IRA bomb close to where he was standing.

He said: “I’ve lived in London for 40 years. I’ve been blown up by the IRA.

“I wasn’t hurt but I was knocked off my feet, so a couple of teenagers in Boston aren’t going to affect me.”

Margaret McKinlay, 61, from Edinburgh, said she believed what happened in Boston made people even more determined to take to the streets of London.

“If anything it made me more determined. What happened in Boston was particular to there.

“I think people would be more determined to do it than anything,” she said.

One onlooker waiting for a familiar face to pass along the route was Christine Donnachie, 49, whose husband Alistair is running the marathon for the first time.

She said the couple, who live in Kirkcaldy in Scotland, discussed whether or not she should accompany him to London after what happened in Boston.

“We did discuss whether I should come as a spectator or not, but we said I should,” Mrs Donnachie said.

Also waiting to wave to her husband was Elaine Fairhurst, 47, from Bolton, who said she feels completely safe as a supporter.

She said: “I think it makes you more aware, but if anything it makes you feel that this is safer because they stepped security up.

“It’s been fantastic. It shows people are tough and they get on with it, however sad Boston is.”

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