London Marathon 2013: From Buzz Lightyear to Ed Balls, London’s runners get home safe amid heightened security
Competitors observe a 30-second silence before the start of the men's elite race and runners have been encouraged to wear black ribbons
Buzz Lightyear didn't look like a man on his way beyond infinity when Sonic the Hedgehog trudged apologetically past him on the 15 mile marker. And judging by the state of Superman, who followed not long after, public health officials need to sweep the Limehouse basin for Kryptonite as a matter of urgency.
On the fronts of the running bibs of the more conventionally attired, was what read like a great, panting checklist of humanity's greatest threats: cancer; leukemia; meningitis; cystic fibrosis. A girl called Hannah - her name was on the front of her bib - was torturing herself for the Nakuru Children's Project, which builds schools in poor parts of Kenya. It hardly needs a terrorist's bomb at a marathon's finish line to remind you that, if there's a cause you're willing to suffer for, there is a ready made, dignified - if sweaty - course of action.
Karlee Samuels, 28 from, Essex, was one of 40,000 runners who stood with their heads bowed at the start line in Greenwich Park for 30 seconds of silence, remembering those who lost their lives and limbs in Boston.
"Marathon running is a global sport," said the event's commentator John Wightman. "It unites runners and supporters on every continent in pursuit of a common challenge and in the spirit of friendship and fellowship.
"This week the world marathon family was shocked and saddened by the events at the Boston Marathon.
"In a few moments a whistle will sound and we will join together in silence to remember our friends and colleagues for whom a day of joy turned into a day of sadness.
"Let us now show our respect and support for the victims of the tragedy in Boston."
Karlee decided to run the marathon to raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust, the leukemia charity who had organised a bone marrow transplant for Oli Johnson, the 30 year old fiancee of her close friend. Two weeks ago, with her training reaching its gruelling peak, he died. "When I'd really had enough I just thought of him and how much he'd be laughing at me," she said at the finish line. "He always told me I run like a div."
40 per cent more police officers than last year were deployed over the 26.2 mile course, in the light of events in Boston. No specific threat was received by police, and the event passed off entirely peacefully. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners lined the route, as they do every year, calling out the runners' names and drinking beers in the bright sunshine.
But only those on the first half of the course saw Great Britain's double Olympic champion Mo Farah, who dropped out on 13 miles, as he always planned to, before praising the crowd and said saying the experience was good practice ahead of him running the full race next year. He also pocketed a rumoured £500,000 from race organisers Virgin.
Singer Katherine Jenkins, shadow chancellor Ed Balls, cricketer Andrew Strauss and McFly's Harry Judd were a few of the many famous faces taking part in the race.
Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede won the men's race, with Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo winning the women's. The most notable moment of drama came as the front running men's wheelchair racers overtook the elite women, when Canadian wheelchair racer knocked over the women's Olympic gold medal winner Tiki Gelana.
"One of these years a woman, is going to have a leg broken, a career ruined," Cassidy said after. "It's just not worth having this programme if the races are going to suffer."
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