FROM LONDON WITH LOVE

LondonMarathonLogo    London, England – News here in the U.K. is just as Boston focused as everywhere else in the aftermath of Monday’s marathon bombings and today’s firefight and manhunt in Watertown, Mass., even as the Virgin London Marathon prepares for its own 33rd start this Sunday morning in Blackheath. But having staged an Olympic Games last year, and dealt with the IRA troubles for so many decades before that, London officials feel they have a good handle on security for the marathon. Notwithstanding, the police presence for Sunday’s London Marathon will increase by 40% from 2012, according to Scotland Yard.

“It’s about making sure that the people who come to London on Sunday feel safe when they are in the city,” said Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry who has headed security at the London Marathon for the last five years.

London race officials expect 35,000 runners on Sunday, and said they will donate £2 for every finisher to the One Fund Boston. There will also be 30-seconds of silence before the start on Sunday as a mark of respect for the victims of Monday’s attack in Boston. (more…)

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RUNNING COMMUNITIES GATHER IN SOLIDARITY WITH BOSTON

KENMORE SQUARE
KENMORE SQUARE

Boston, MA. — The late blooming warmth of a New England spring morning in Kenmore Square is mocked by the desolate pall that hangs over Boylston Street just one mile east on this second day after the marathon bombings in Boston. With police and FBI officials still pouring over the thousands of photographs and hours of video that were shot along the finish line stretch on Monday, the who, the why and the wherefore of the cruelty remain painfully elusive even as the agonizing consequences continue to radiate to all corners of the city and the nation.

(LATE BREAKING NEWS AT 1:40 p.m. EASTERN TIME: ACCORDING TO WBZ-TV VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS, AN ARREST IN THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING IS IMMINENT!)

Last evening in the close-knit Boston community of Dorchester hundreds of neighbors gathered on a grassy ball field to hold a candle-light vigil for eight year-old Richard Martin, youngest victim in Monday’s tragedy, even as Richard’s mom and sister remain hospitalized with severe injuries. And though it remained blocked as an ongoing crime scene, Boylston Street itself has been turned into a makeshift shrine as these locations of loss so often are.
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UNSPEAKABLE HORROR IN BOSTON

Boston Scarred by Terror
Boston Scarred by Terror

Boston, Ma. — When the two bombs tore through the jubilant crowds lining the finish line of today’s 117th Boston Marathon it did more than halt the race in its tracks, leaving nearly 4500 runners between 40K and the finish unable to complete their Boston experience.  It turned the world on its head.

At 2:50 p.m. what had moments before been an ongoing celebration of the human spirit instantly transformed into a chaotic reflection of man’s darkest impulse. What had been moving testimony to the best in man became instead a shocking indictment against the evil that has festered in far too many hearts in far too many places for far too long a time.  Now the roll call of communities which share the sad distinction of being targets of terror includes Boston, the cradle of American freedom.  And, yes, it happened on Patriot’s Day at that, a day commemorating what it means for a community to come together and say to the world ‘for this we will fight’, ‘for this we will stand as one for all to see.’ (more…)

SPRINGTIME IN BOSTON AND THE SAPS ARE RUNNING

Springtime in Boston?
Springtime in Boston?

Boston, Ma. — It’s springtime in New England, where the opening of baseball season and the running of the Boston Marathon bring the promise of warmer days ahead.  And this morning with the thermometer stuck at 39F and howling east winds blowing in off the Atlantic, the 27,000 marathoners heading to town must have been wondering what Mother Nature had in store for them this year come Marathon Monday.

Weather has been the big story the last two years in Boston.  A zephyring tailwind led to record performances in 2011, while a blistering heat scorched the course in 2012, leading to a men’s winning time over nine minutes slower than 2011.  A check of the forecast does show a warming trend heading toward the area for Monday’s 117th Boston Marathon, but close observers of New England weather always know to hold their predictions. Anything, as we’ve seen, can happen. (more…)

WESLEY KORIR – MAN ON THE RUN

 “No man working 40-hours a week will ever beat me in a marathon.”  – Four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers.

After winning the 1975 Boston Marathon in an American record 2:09:55, Bill Rodgers returned to his job as a special education teacher.  He’d been a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and carried a sense of societal responsibility common to his generation.  But when his principal kept asking if it was really necessary that he train during his lunch break, Bill knew he had to choose.  He followed the path to running history, winning three more Bostons, four New Yorks and a Fukuoka (Japan).

Today, the depth of distance running talent is far greater than in Rodger’s era, and to say the world’s top runners live all but monastic lives to prepare for their major competitions is being generous to monks.  And yet, defending Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir of Kenya has recently taken on a responsibility that would leave even the affable Mr. Rodgers shaking his head in disbelief. (more…)

2013 CARLSBAD FOLLOW UP

Gebremeskel Three-Peats(photo courtesy, Competitor Group)
Gebremeskel Three-Peats
(photo courtesy, Competitor Group)

Since its inception in 1986 the now famous Carlsbad 5000 has built its reputation on world and U.S. road 5K records.  To date there have been 16 world records and 8 U.S. marks set on this ocean-side layout.  But while Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel won his third straight Carlsbad 5000 men’s title yesterday, his winning time of 13:20 was the slowest since countryman Terefe Maregu beat a young Mo Farah, 13:34 to 13:35, in 2008.

Thus, after yesterday’s 28th edition in the charming seaside village north of San Diego, it has now been seven years since the World’s Fastest 5K has witnessed a new open division record.   Meseret Defar ran her 14:46 women’s world record in 2006.  And that’s the newest of the marks.  Deena Kastor’s 14:54 American women’s record is now 11 years old, Sammy Kipketer’s seemingly unassailable 13-flat men’s mark is 12 years old, and it’s been 17 years since Marc Davis’s 13:24 American men’s record was set. (more…)