London, England — VIPs from the running world gathered beneath the London Tower Bridge this evening aboard the luxury river yacht the Silver Sturgeon for a welcome celebration to the 33rd Virgin London Marathon. But though the professional fields for Sunday’s races are the best in the world this year, and perhaps the best in London’s illustrious history, not surprisingly the topic most under discussion remained the terror attack at Monday’s Boston Marathon.
Race directors of America’s two largest marathons, Mary Wittenberg of New York City and Carey Pinkowski of Chicago, huddled together to consider what the industry as a whole might do in response rather than just what the six World Marathon Majors might put forward. Then first year London race director Hugh Brasher, son of event co-founder Chris Brasher, addressed the crowd welcoming them to the city, but also remembering the loss suffered in Boston. Hugh next introduced defending men’s champion and Olympic Marathon bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang of Kenya who spoke movingly in the name of his fellow athletes.
“We would like to express our condolences to those who lost loved ones in Boston,” he began standing on a staircase overlooking the crowd. “But we will run feeling free. We won’t worry about security when we’re running. We are ready to run well on Sunday, and maybe break the course record or even the world record.” (more…)