WIGANERS heading to the London marathon this weekend have been assured by sports minister Hugh Robertson he is “absolutely confident” that the event can be kept safe following the devastating bomb attacks in Boston.
Several Britons are feared to be among those injured after two explosions ripped through the finish line of the Boston marathon yesterday (Monday) evening, killing three people and wounding more than 140 others.
A list of competitors on the Boston Marathon website shows hundreds of British runners were expected to line up for the race, but exact figures of any UK casualties are not yet known and a Foreign Office spokesman said officials are trying to gather information.
The blasts struck six days before thousands of athletes and fun-runners take part in the London Marathon next Sunday.
Asked if he believed the London race should still go ahead, Mr Robertson told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Yes, I do.
“I think this is one of those incidents where the best way to show solidarity with Boston is to continue and send a very clear message to those responsible.
“These are balance of judgments but we are absolutely confident here that we can keep the event safe and secure.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has spoken to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe about the possibility of extra security for the race.
Mr Johnson said: “The bombings in Boston are shocking, cowardly and horrific, and the thoughts of all Londoners will be with the victims. Boston is a proud city built on history, tradition and a real sense of community.
“These attacks were aimed at its core, at innocent men, women and children enjoying a spring day out at a major sporting event. We do have robust security measures in place for Sunday’s London Marathon, but given events in Boston it’s only prudent for the police and the organisers of Sunday’s race to re-examine those security arrangements.”
A spokeswoman for the Home Office confirmed that Home Secretary Theresa May has been fully briefed about the Boston explosions and held a meeting with MI5 director-general Jonathan Evans and the Met’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations Cressida Dick. The current threat level to the UK from international terrorism, set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), remains at substantial.