Almost 40,000 runners will take to the streets today for the London Marathon, six days after two bombs at the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 175 others.
The 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) race begins in Blackheath in southeast London and finishes near Buckingham Palace. Race officials announced this week a 30-second moment of silence will be held before each of the three starts in memory of the Boston victims, while the 37,000 runners were given black ribbons to wear.
Police presence will be increased with “several hundred additional officers” deployed along the route, according to the Metropolitan Police.
“Following the terrible events in Boston, we are providing additional visible reassurance to the public in what is naturally a worrying time,” Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry said in a statement two days ago. “I would stress there is no change to the threat level to London and nothing at this stage to link the Boston bombings to the London Marathon. Nevertheless we want to do all we can to help provide a secure environment in which the runners, spectators and volunteers can enjoy themselves.”
Last year’s race was dominated by runners from Kenya. Wilson Kipsang finished ahead of compatriot Martin Lel, a three- time winner in London, in the men’s race, while Mary Keitany won for a second time in leading a Kenya sweep of the top three women’s spots.
In Boston, two bombs exploded near the finish line at the city’s marathon as recreational runners completed the April 15 race. The blasts occurred about 2 1/2 hours after Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the men’s event.
A 19-year-old suspect, captured hiding in a boat, was in a hospital with serious wounds as the FBI prepared to question him about what might have inspired and enabled the attack.
Dzhokar Tsarnaev was being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston for gunshot wounds suffered as he battled police, authorities said. His 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the other suspect, was killed as they both tried to escape the dragnet April 19 shortly after they murdered a police officer officer for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Organizers of the London Marathon will make a donation for every finisher to the fund set up to help victims in Boston.
Officials said 2 pounds for every runner who crosses the finish line will be donated to The One Fund Boston set up to raise money after the explosions three days ago. With more than 35,500 runners expected to finish the race, organizers said at least 70,000 pounds ($107,000) is likely to be raised.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.