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Tight security, Boston solidarity at London Marathon

4:59 PM, Apr 21, 2013   |    comments
Runners observe a moment of silence in memory of Boston Marathon victims before the start during the London Marathon on Sunday. Sang Tan AP
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LONDON -- Less than a week after bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, those taking part at the London Marathon were refusing to let fear cast a shadow over Sunday's race.

On a chilly, but entirely clear, spring morning in the Blackheath area of the capital city's south-east corridor, thousands of runners and their supporters observed a 30-second silence in a show of respect to the three people killed and more than 170 injured during last Monday's traumatic events and the fraught aftermath.

But Sunday, many in the assembled crowd made clear, was not a day to be cowed or to give in. There may not have been the marked sense of jubilation or as much giddy, nervous energy as can sometimes accompany these events, but many runners were determined to make the best of it.

"We have confidence in London," said Nicola Selwood, who was waiting for the mass start. "We put on the Olympics, so we can do this." Selwood said that the city, and this race, should not be put off by terrorism.

But standing alongside Selwood was Clare Shepherd. "I just want to get around the course safely," she said. And Graham Law, another runner, added, "If there's worry, it's more for our families who are watching today."

Damian Crosby, a banker from London who was running Sunday, said his family would be out supporting him "so obviously their security is in the back of my mind.

"But you just need to get on with it. That's the British way."

London Marathon runners have raised more than $900 million in memory of a deceased loved one or to support a charity since the event was unveiled in 1981. Sunday, there was another reason to take part: Many ran in honor of those killed or injured in Boston.

London is showing its solidarity with the people of the Commonwealth - the Massachusetts one - in a number of ways.

A Twitter campaign launched by Lucy-Fraser Macnamar, otherwise known as @DayCentreLucy, was encouraging runners to "place your hands over your hearts as you cross the finish line in tribute to #Boston #handsoverhearts."

Race officials said they did not have any way of tracking how many runners who competed in Boston also took part in the London Marathon.

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