Marathon runs into wall of security scares

Pity the organisers of tomorrow's Flora London Marathon. Not only is there a danger of terrorist attack, but the race is under threat from the water, the air and the sky.

While Scotland Yard is co-ordinating a major security operation to limit the chances of a bomb attack, marathon officials believe the elements pose a greater risk.

Race organisers urged the public to be vigilant, but said they were more fearful that the event would be disrupted by British Gas or Thames Water, than the IRA.

Contingency plans have been drawn up to guard against the possibility of collapsed roads, burst gas mains and flooding.

Yesterday the Cancer Research Campaign created a further scare when it announced that runners were at risk from skin cancer if they failed to protect themselves against the spring sunshine.

Nevertheless more than 500,000 people are expected to turn out to watch a field of 28,000 runners.

The bomb threats which led to the postponement of last weekend's Grand National have heightened fears that the marathon could be the next event on the terrorist hit list.

When the National was finally run on Monday, racegoers were told not to bring baggage to the Aintree course and were searched at the turnstiles. Such thorough checking would not be possible at the marathon.

With more than 26 miles of public highway to monitor, the race is the most difficult major sporting event to protect from such attack.

Nick Bitel, the marathon's chief executive, said that during its 17-year history the race had learned to live with the threat of terrorism.

He said: "Some years ago, two days before the marathon, there was a bomb at the Baltic Exchange which is virtually on our route. More recently, the first vehicle to go down Marsh Wall after the bombing there was ours, putting down the blue line for the marathon.

"But it is not just a terrorist threat that could take out one of our roads. Water mains go down all the time and if a hole appears in a road you have a major problem." Three years ago a burst gas main at a key point on the course led to major difficulties.

This year race organisers are concerned about the commercial threat of "ambush advertising". Companies which are not sponsoring the race have sought to cash in on its popularity by placing prominent advertisements along the route. There are fears that the practice, which is legal in Britain, could lead to loss of sponsors at future marathons and other sporting events in this country.

Even the glorious weather was yesterday denounced as a threat to runners and spectators. Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, said: "Skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the UK and because it's only April, many people wrongly believe they are not at risk from the sun.

"Marathon runners and spectators are particularly vulnerable because many of them will be out for most of the day and they won't be covered up."

The charity, which is being sponsored by 387 runners in this year's event, said that, where possible, people should seek natural shade, wear cover- up clothing, avoid the midday sun, and use a sunscreen with a protection factor of 15 or above.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

Extras
indybest
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Executive - Software

£20000 - £25000 per annum + 55,000 OTE + benifits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Software Sa...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?