Sunday’s eventful London Marathon formed a fitting tribute to the three killed and over 170 injured in the tragic Boston bombings just six days earlier. A 30 second silence was impeccably observed as tens of thousands of athletes, many wearing black ribbons as a mark of respect, prepared to set off from Blackheath. There had been fears for the safety of those taking part in the annual race, leading to a beefing-up in security through a 40 per cent increase in police presence.
Bizarrely though the biggest threat to the runners was a wheelchair. Ethiopian Tiki Gelana collided with Canadian Paralympian Josh Cassidy after 51 minutes. Olympic champion Gelana ran in front of the wheelchair racers to reach her bottle of water, and there was nothing Cassidy could do to avoid the collision. Gelana was able to rejoin the race, but for a disgruntled Cassidy the marathon had ended prematurely. The women’s race ended after two hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds when Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo crossed the line, whilst Susan Partridge was the quickest British female. She finished ninth, crossing the line 10 minutes and 31 seconds after Jeptoo.
Meanwhile, Australian Kurt Fearnley won the men’s wheelchair event after an enthralling sprint finish. British Paralympic champion David Weir finished in fifth place. In the men’s race, London 2012 hero Mo Farah ran half the course in preparation for his marathon debut next year. Farah kept up with the leading pack, and could be one of the favourites to win the 2014 marathon if he learns from his few minor errors – like picking up the wrong drinks bottle at the 10km mark. It was Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede who emerged victorious, completing the race in two hours, six minutes and four seconds. His late charge for victory came during the last kilometre, when he overtook Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya – who until then had built up a commanding lead. The women’s wheelchair race was won by American Tatyana McFadden, who also emerged victorious at the Boston marathon just moments before the bombs went off. She dedicated her victory to the victims of the bombing, after setting a new course record time of one hour, 46 minutes and two seconds. Brit Shelly Woods finished fifth.