London marathon message: 'Runners are stronger than bombers'
On Sunday the mood at the London marathon was festive, as many runners paid tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
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"It is terrible what happened in Boston, but we can't look back, we must look forward," an out-of-breath Hamerlak told The Associated Press moments after crossing the finish line. "The show must go on."Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Learning from the Boston Marathon bombings
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A relaxed-looking Prince Harry presented awards to the wheelchair racers and mingled with spectators.
"It's fantastic, typically British," he said. "People are saying they haven't seen crowds like this for eight years around the route. It's remarkable to see."
He said it was "never an option" for him to cancel his appearance following the Boston bombings.
"No one has changed any plans, volunteers, security, nothing has changed," he said. "Typically the British way."
On Blackheath, the spacious green common area where the race begins, runners massaged one another's legs as loud pop music boomed on a sound system. A half-dozen police officers in reflective vests strolled around and chatted with the runners. Many in the crowd wore Boston T-shirts.
Moments before the majority of runners set off on the grinding course, announcer Geoff Wightman used the loudspeakers to ask for silence. He described marathon running as a global sport that unites runners and supporters in every continent in a spirit of friendship.
"This week the world marathon family was shocked and saddened by the events at the Boston Marathon," he said as he asked the people gathered to "remember our friends and colleagues for whom a day of joy turned into a day of sadness."
As those gathered responded to his call, the only noise that could be heard was the buzz of helicopters and the beeping of a truck.
Security was plentiful but not intrusive near the finish line at the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. Marathon staff, officials and media had their bags thoroughly checked, a process not deemed necessary at the event last year. Officials said this was in response to the Boston attack.
Shirley Gillard, a 63-year-old retiree sitting on a bench at the edge of the starting area, seemed pleased with her decision to come out and watch the race. She described herself as the type of person who was always worried when spotting an unattended bag on public transport, but said people shouldn't change their habits because of what happened in Boston.
"That would be letting them win, the terrorists and lunatics," she said.
Marathon organizers plan to donate money to a Boston fund set up to help victims. They said they did not consider canceling the event, which is a highlight of the sporting calendar.
Extra security was added and there was no disruption. Hamburg organizers have said that they know of only eight people who pulled out because of the Boston bombings.