Patrick Makau, Geoffrey Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede, Wilson Kipsang and Stephen Kiprotich ahead of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon (Getty Images)

Patrick Makau, Geoffrey Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede, Wilson Kipsang and Stephen Kiprotich ahead of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon (Getty Images)

It has been a somber week of sadness and solidarity ahead of start of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, this coming Sunday.

Having proudly, and justifiably, proclaimed their elite men’s field as ‘the greatest ever assembled’, after the appalling events in Boston on Monday, the race organisers’ attentions have switched from thinking about fast times and fierce competition to gestures of support for the victims, families and friends in the marathon-running community across the Atlantic.

Runners in Sunday’s race are being encouraged to wear black ribbons as a mark of remembrance, and there’ll be a 30-second silence before the start. The London Marathon has also pledged to donate £2 for every finisher to the One Fund Boston, which means more than $100,000 USD will go to help those most affected by the explosions.

However, when former London Marathon race director and 10000m World record holder David Bedford sounds the famous claxon to get more than 35,000 on their way on Sunday morning, there will be two races which are enticing enough to turn many minds from tragedy.

In brief, the men’s line-up includes three of the four fastest men in history, and six of the 10 quickest ever.

Even without the three-time London champion, Martin Lel, and double World champion Abel Kirui, who have both withdrawn with injuries over the last seven days, the field still contains nine men who have run 26.2 miles in under 2:06.

Among them are the gold and bronze medallists from the London 2012 Olympic Games, three World Marathon Majors champions, and winners of the 2012 marathons in Berlin, Chicago, Frankfurt and Dubai. Read more

Share