LONDON — The successful security measures at last year’s Olympics are helping London Marathon runners allay their anxieties from the Boston bombings.
The elite marathoners have been assured by the government that security is being stepped up for Sunday’s race after two explosions near the Boston Marathon finish line Monday killed three people and wounded more than 170.
“The security that they have I believe is the best one — as we saw last year in London (at the Olympics),” world champion Edna Kiplagat said Thursday. “I know what we saw in Boston has given London the need to be prepared and I believe they are now prepared for anything that can happen
“I hope that they have set the security to be (high) and we expect it to be in the warmup area, the course and at the finish-start line, and even everywhere in the city. It’s better that there is maximum security.”
Mo Farah, Britain’s double long-distance champion at the London Games, said he was comfortable with security planning as he prepares to run a half marathon.
“For me, this is home, this is a great city … and for what we did at the London Olympics you shouldn’t be worried at all,” said Farah, who watched the Boston attack unfold on television from his base in Portland, Ore.
“You don’t want to see anything bad in sport,” he added. “All my support goes to the people that got hurt and their families. And here in London we will be wearing that black ribbon and we will be running for the people out there.”
Organizers have been holding regular meetings with the authorities since the Boston attack, and extra police will be visible along the 26.2-mile course.
“We are reassured that, as a result of the experience we have got, not just through the marathon but also through the Olympics, that we have the right people in place to make sure this event is the great success that it is,” Culture Secretary Maria Miller told the House of Commons.
Japanese contender Yoko Shibui is comforted by the presence of the “very top notch” British police.
“I was shocked to hear the marathon was the target of terrorism and I would like to try to do my best to overcome that fear and unite the runners,” she said through a translator.
But London Olympic champion Tiki Gelana said it will not be easy to put Boston out of her mind when she returns to the scene of her triumph last August.
“As a human being you feel sorry for the people affected because of what happened,” the Ethiopian said. “You think about it now and then. But I am here to run … even with what happened in Boston, you come here to win.”