Marathons In Wake of Tragedy




Sunday, April 21, 2013 boasted two marathons in the two major European cities of London, England, and Hamburg, Germany, both of which began under apprehension in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon just six days before.

At the London Marathon, the crowd of 40,000 runners began by bowing their heads for a thirty-second moment of silence to remember the victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

John Wightman, the events commentator, explained why the London marathoners were so supportive of their Boston brethren, saying “Marathon running is a global sport.”

The London Marathon boasted record crowds of spectators that lined the route to support the runners, and to show the world their support for Boston and in defiance of terroristic actions.  Forty per cent more police officers lined the route compared to last year, and the event passed without incident.

Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede won the men’s race in 2 hours 6 minutes 4 seconds, and Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo won the women’s race in 2 hours 20 minutes 15 seconds.

The winner of the women’s wheelchair race in Boston, American Tatyana McFadden, was also victorious at the London Marathon only six days later.  Like many runners she wore a black armband during the London Marathon in dedication to the Boston.  McFadden dedicated her victory to the people of Boston.

Nearly 20 runners that participated in the London Marathon were veterans of this year’s Boston Marathon.

Before the race began, organizers pledged to donate about $3 for every competitor that finished the marathon to One Fund Boston.  Organizers also provided the black ribbons the athletes wore in remembrance of the Boston victims.

Tricia Bunn, an elementary school teacher, finished the Boston Marathon only half an hour before the bombs went off, according to the Washington Post.  Bunn said the strong community of marathoners would only be brought closer together as a result of the Boston attacks.

“Everyone on that starting line will be doing it for Boston,” said Bunn of the London Marathon.  “I think it will be the greatest message that there could be to the bombers, and to the people of Boston,” she finished while choking back tears.

In Hamburg, a suspicious package was found at a subway station near the route during the marathon, raising fears of a repeat of the Boston tragedy.

Police cleared the scene quickly, and the marathon ended without incident.

The Germans also held a moment of silence prior to the start of the Hamburg Marathon.

The 15,000 participants all wore yellow armbands marked “Run for Boston” to show their support for the healing of the city.

Eliud Kipchoge, an Olympic runner from Kenya, won the men’s race in 2 hours 5 minutes 29 seconds.  Lithuanian, Diana Lobacevske, won the women’s race in 2 hours 29 minutes 17 seconds.

Following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, media speculation abounded about the safety of future marathons.

Yet, following Sunday’s marathons in Europe, runners and spectators proved that they would not be deterred and would continue to attend and support marathons in the future.


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