Wilson Kipsang, the defending Virgin London Marathon men’s champion, has claimed that the world’s top athletes will run the event on Sunday, April 21 “feeling free” despite the two fatal explosions at the Boston Marathon earlier this week.
At least three people were killed and nearly 200 injured by the blasts near the finish line of the race, the oldest annual marathon in the world having been run since 1897.
The tragic incident has led to safety fears over the London Marathon but while expressing condolences to all those affected by the incidences in Boston, Kipsang insisted he and his colleagues will race in London without fear.
“We would all like to express our condolences to those who lost loved ones in Boston,” said the London 2012 Olympic marathon bronze medallist at a press conference in London. “They are in mourning right now and we know they are going through a hard time. This was an athletics event, just a race, so we all feel for them. But we will run feeling free.
“We’ve been competing in races everywhere and this sort of thing rarely happens,” Kipsang added. “We can see that security matters are in place here and will race feeling completely safe.”
Kipsang’s Kenyan compatriot Patrick Makau, who is the world record holder in the marathon, echoed the defending champions words.
“We won’t worry about security when we’re running,” Makau said. “We are ready to run well on Sunday. We know that nothing like this will happen while we’re running.”
The comments came as London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel confirmed that extra security measures will be in place on Sunday to ensure the safety of the race.
“We instigated a full security review and are putting additional resources in on race day,” Bitel said. “We have taken all reasonable steps to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.We’re deeply grateful to the Metropolitan Police for their immediate support after we heard the terrible news from Boston. There will be additional security checks and extra police, plus our own security measures.”
“London is one of the safest cities in the world,” Bitel added. “We saw how the Met Police led an incredible security effort around London 2012. There is no finer force around the world for large events such as ours. One of the great things about the London Marathon is that it is always seen as an event that brings everyone together. One of our founding objectives was to unite people in a troubled world and we are determined to stick to that principle.”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.