Wear black ribbons at the Marathon, say organisers

ON M

ON Marathon entrants, including double Olympic champion Mo Farah, will hold a 30-second silence and be encouraged to run wearing black ribbons to remember the victims of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, as organisers insist Sunday’s race in the capital will go ahead as planned.

Security will be tightened for the event which is expected to attract more than half a million spectators, who will cheer on 37,500 runners – able to register for the race from 11am today at the ExCel Centre in the Docklands.

At Monday’s marathon, two explosions at the finish line left three dead, including eight-year-old Martin Richard, while 176 people were wounded, 17 critically.

Subsequently, organisers met with the Metropolitan Police yesterday to outline the plans for security ahead of Sunday’s race.

And London Marathon chiefs made assurances that event safety is at the forefront of their thinking.

“The support we have been offered by our stakeholders and the wider running community has been outstanding,” said Nick Bitel, London Marathon chief executive.

“We have the full support of the Metropolitan Police, the mayor’s office and other authorities.”

The black ribbons will be distributed when runners pick up their race number and packs and a period of silence will be held at the blue, green and red starting zones.

A social media campaign is also gathering pace encouraging finishers to place their hand over their heart on completion of the 26.2-mile race.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson has encouraged all those due to run to continue to do so.

“This is one of those incidents where the best way to show solidarity with Boston is to continue and send a very clear message to those responsible,” he said.

Three-time winner and marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe reiterated Robertson’s sentiment.

“Everyone knows the potential of marathons in terms of raising money for charity and how much would be lost if it can’t go ahead,” she said.

“And also how much good could be done to help those suffering in the aftermath of Boston.”

British elite athlete Andrew Lemoncello, who was in Boston cheering on friends at the time of the explosion, has vowed he will compete as planned on Sunday.

“Nothing more I want to do than to run the London Marathon next week. These things don’t tear us apart, they bring us closer together,” tweeted the 30-year-old, who competed for Great Britain at the 2008 Olympic Games.