Security, black ribbons for Boston at London Marathon

Hundreds of extra police were deployed to secure the first race in the World Marathon Majors series since two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday killed three people and wounded 176. 

"The best ever! A lot of emotion because of the Boston marathon," said Nathan Comer (38), catching his breath just after finishing his third London Marathon. "The silence before the marathon was beautiful … it just felt as if everyone was together," he said, referring to a 30-second silence held in honour of the Boston victims just before the start of the race.

One spectator held up a placard that read "Come on London, do it for Boston!" while some runners had the name of the US city emblazoned on their vests, but despite these sombre reminders the mood was overwhelmingly one of celebration.

Small children reached out to high-five runners as they went past, spectators cheered elite and anonymous runners with equal enthusiasm, and a brass band near the starting line jokingly complained the boisterous crowds were drowning out their music.

"It was incredible, the amount of support, people coming out from everywhere, just cheering the whole way. Unbelievable," said a breathless Mo Farah, Britain's 5 000 and 10 000-metre Olympic champion, after running the first half of the course. Farah ran half the route to prepare for competing next year.

The 26-mile course starts in leafy Greenwich, crosses Tower Bridge, snakes through the Canary Wharf business district before heading to Big Ben and finally Buckingham Palace.

Prince Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth, waited at the finish line to hand out medals to the winners. "It's fantastic, it's typically British," he told the BBC, referring to the large turnout along the marathon route. "People have been saying they haven't seen crowds like this for eight years around the route, which is remarkable to see … The way that Boston has dealt with it has been absolutely remarkable. It's never going to get anyone down here."

London's Metropolitan Police Service said it increased the number of officers on the streets by 40% to reassure the public and not in response to any specific threat. Sniffer dogs were out in force and bins had been removed from the course. "The enhancement to policing, which will see several hundred additional officers on the streets, is intended to provide visible reassurance to the participants and spectators alike," the police said on their website.

Silent tribute
Before the start of the men's elite and mass races, official commentator Geoff Wightman led the crowd in a tribute to Boston.

"This week the world marathon family was shocked and saddened by the events at the Boston Marathon," he said over loudspeakers. "In a few moments a whistle will sound and we will join together in silence to remember our friends and colleagues for whom a day of joy turned into a day of sadness."

The packed ranks of competitors bowed their heads and stood silently for 30 seconds, then clapped and cheered when a second whistle marked the end of the tribute. Moments later, the world's elite runners led off the race.

Behind them came thousands of competitors chasing personal goals or raising money for charity, many running in fancy dress. Unusual outfits included a two-person camel costume, a giant beer bottle, a rhino, two male brides and Admiral Lord Nelson. 

There were emotional scenes at the finish line as participants thought of Boston, but also in some cases of the sad reasons behind their involvement.

"It's been emotional and the atmosphere is brilliant," said cancer sufferer Hayley Kalinins, whose husband and brother were running for her and for a cancer charity.

After an unusually long and harsh winter, the weather came through for the London Marathon which began under bright sunshine and a cloudless sky.

Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo won the women's race by a long distance, while Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede snatched victory from Kenyan rival Emmanuel Mutai in the final kilometre, to huge cheers from Londoners packed along the majestic tree-lined Mall.

The organisers will donate £2 per finisher to The One Fund Boston, set up to raise money for the victims. They estimate around 35 500 people will cross the line, meaning they are likely to raise at least £70 000 pounds.

In the German city of Hamburg, which was staging its own marathon on Sunday, runners also wore ribbons and held a minute of silence for victims of the Boston bombings. – Reuters


Sandf colonel accused of swindling colleagues in UN business scam

A senior soldier who is part of South Africa’s peacekeeping missions is accused by her colleagues of swindling them out of of hundreds of thousands of rands in a nonexistent business deal

AU pushes the frontiers of transitional justice

Now these important policy developments must be implemented

Mass store and job cuts at Massmart

Changed market conditions and an appalling economy has hit low end cash-and-carry outlets

Courts to guide land expropriation

Two bits of law need to be approved before a court can decide if land owners will be compensated

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.