Monday, 15 August 2022

Marathon runners to pay tribute to Boston

RUNNERS from the Henley area say they are more determined than ever to complete the London Marathon on Sunday following

RUNNERS from the Henley area say they are more determined than ever to complete the London Marathon on Sunday following the bomb blasts that marred the Boston race.

The 33rd annual event will go ahead as planned despite security concerns raised following the suspected terrorist attack in America, which killed three people and injured more than 170 others.

There will be a 30-second silence before the start and runners will be encouraged to wear black ribbons in tribute to the bomb victims.

Ian and Kelly Hargreaves, of Newtown Gardens, Henley, will be running to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Mrs Hargreaves, a hairdresser, said: “I hope the marathon will still be well supported. We have had lots of information from our charity, who have kept us up to date with what is happening.

“If anything, what happened in Boston has made me more determined to do this for the people that suffered there. It is terribly sad, your heart just sinks.

“When I saw the news it was so poignant because we are running. I think you relate to it an awful lot more but it certainly would not stop me and it won’t stop our supporters from going.”

Mrs Hargraves, whose nephew Harri Douglas suffers from type 1 diabetes, added: “I think the black ribbons and 30-second silence is fitting and will be lovely.”

Daryl Scott, from Gallowstree Common, will be running to raise money for Children with Cancer UK and said he was looking forward to the race.

He said: “Everything is still going ahead as normal, which I think is the right thing. The black ribbons are a positive thing.”

Shiplake College pupils Jo Unsworth and Daisy Gresswell will be running on Sunday as planned.

Jo’s father Martin Unsworth said: “I am not at all worried. Everyone seems pretty confident that it is going to go ahead smoothly and I think that is the right thing.

“It is absolutely tragic what has happened but you cannot just crawl into a corner and lock the door, you have to get on with your life and in your own way fight this stuff.

“Jo has worked hard and put her rowing on hold to do the marathon. She has set herself a pretty big challenge.”

Hayley Wainwright and her brother Jason Russell will be running for St John Ambulance in memory of their father John Russell, who died in 1997.

Mrs Wainwright, 29, from Shiplake, said: “I was a little hit worried and nervous after what happened in Boston on Monday but you have to keep going.

“I picked up my black ribbon with my number yesterday and I think it is a really nice idea.

“The training has been going well — you always want a few more weeks but we are both nervous and excited at the same time.”Reading Roadrunners will be providing 60 marshals to help out in London.

Secretary Roger Pritchard said: “We will no doubt be instructed to be extra vigilant because of the Boston bombing but we will not be deterred by these fanatical extremists, whoever they are. I will consider my presence and involvement in the London Marathon this year as a sign of sympathy and solidarity with the people of Boston and trust that my fellow volunteer club members consider it likewise.”

Club member Michael Sartorius, from Caversham, took part in the race in Boston but it’s not known whether he was caught up in the bombing.

Mr Pritchard said: “We still don’t know if he or any of his family or friends that may have been there were affected in any way. I have called his home and his wife’s phone several times to get news but the phones are not answered.

“As far as the casualties are concerned, Reading Roadrunners offer their sincerest condolences to the families of the victims.

“It is very difficult to comprehend why any extremists would want to harm people who come from all over the world to participate.”

London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel confirmed on Tuesday that the event would go ahead but that extra security would be drafted in.

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