Joel Ryan Invision Rosie Allister, who ran in last Monday's Boston Marathon, carries a message as she prepares for Sunday's London Marathon.

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Runners turn their thoughts toward Boston

Published: Monday, Apr. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Monday, Apr. 22, 2013 - 6:12 am

LONDON – Six days and 3,300 miles from the bombings in Boston, the London Marathon was held Sunday under azure skies, in what runners called perfect conditions, with no security scares and the minds of virtually all involved soaring westward to the victims of last Monday's attack.

No world records fell on a brisk but practically windless day, and the men's and women's races were won by competitors who were among the favorites. Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, also the 2010 winner, took the men's race in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 4 seconds. Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo won the women's race in 2:20.15.

Russian-born American Tatyana McFadden won the women's wheelchair race six days after triumphing in Boston. She was one of fewer than 20 competitors who participated in both marathons, London organizers said.

"Today was about running for Boston," she said.

Organizers hailed the 33rd annual event as the most successful in its history. It was also likely the most emotional.

More than anything, there was relief that concerns about a possible copycat attack modeled on the bombings that killed three people and injured more than 180 at the finish of the Boston Marathon proved groundless.

But there was far more to the event's success, as reflected in a mood that mixed celebration, commemoration and defiance among runners, organizers and a crowd police estimated to be at least a half-million people. Veteran competitors said the throngs appeared to be the largest in the race's history.

There was a sea of American flags waved by spectators and tied to the security barriers lining the course.

Many runners wore black ribbons provided by organizers in commemoration of the Boston casualties. Organizers pledged to donate about $3 for every finisher to the One Fund Boston campaign to help those most affected.

Before the start, the event's official commentator, Geoff Wightman, addressed the competitors and set the mood.

"Marathon running is a global sport," Wightman said. "It unites runners and supporters on every continent in pursuit of a common challenge and in the spirit of friendship and fellowship.

"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. Let us now show our respect and support for the victims of the Boston tragedy."

Television images showed the runners falling still, some with hands clasped in prayer, some gazing to the sky, others with eyes downcast.

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Read more articles by John F. Burns



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