Runners to defy terrorist threat and compete in London Marathon

People react to an explosion at the Boston Marathon

People react to an explosion at the Boston Marathon

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Local runners are expected to press ahead with plans for Sunday’s London Marathon despite yesterday’s horrific bomb attacks in Boston.

Stainland Lions spokesman John Bassinder said around a dozen of the club’s runners are down to run.

“I expect it will be a message of defiance,” he said.

“I would not have thought people would pull out and if anything what happened will strengthen their resolve.”

Halifax Harriers spokesman Frank Chislett said: “I don’t think it will put anyone off.

“People will be strong and realise `the show must go on.’

“I was extremely shocked at what happened as it was very close to a runner’s heart.

“It was an appalling, shocking event.”

Sophie Richards, 29, of Barkisland, will be running on Sunday.

She said the threat of terror attacks was always at the back of people’s minds but you hadn’t to overly worry.

“What happened has not put me off and I won’t be backing out,” she said.

Two bombs exploded near the finish line leaving three dead and 140 injured.

A British runner described how she avoided being caught up in the deadly explosions by a matter of minutes.

Some 347 of the 25,000 taking part in the race were British.

Abi Griffiths, from London, crossed the finishing line around 10 minutes before the “chaos”.

The 34-year-old said she heard the explosion while collecting her bag.

“The ground shook and immediately people sort of looked around - it was just too loud to be something that wasn’t serious,” she said.

“People kind of didn’t know what to do. Then all of a sudden it went into a state of chaos.

“Police were everywhere, we were being evacuated out of the area and it was really eerie.

“It was very, very scary and what should be a major celebration of the achievement of running 26.2 miles suddenly became a frightening scene.”

Consequently, security for the London Marathon - and Baroness Thatcher’s funeral tomorrow - will be under extra scrutiny.

The Metropolitan Police said they would review the policing of the race on Sunday, while former Home Secretary John Reid said the incident will also have ramifications for Lady Thatcher’s funeral tomorrow.

Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry, the event commander for the marathon, said they would review security for the event, which draws spectators from all over the world.

She said: “A security plan is in place for the London Marathon. We will be reviewing our security arrangements in partnership with London Marathon.”

The London race’s chief executive, Nick Bitel, said yesterday was a very sad day for athletics.

“Our security plan is developed jointly with the Metropolitan Police and we were in contact with them as soon as we heard the news,” he said.

Meanwhile. Lord Reid has said experts will be keen to review security arrangements for Lady Thatcher’s funeral.

He said: “Everyone will have been appalled at the terrible events in Boston.”

The London Marathon is the world’s largest and attracts half a million spectators each year.