SECURITY is to be stepped up at the Marathon of the North in the wake of the Boston bombings.
Organisers of the Sunderland event, which also includes the Half Marathon of the North, Sunderland City 10k and BQ Team Relay, are liaising with police following the attack in Massachusetts
The blasts left at least three people dead, including an eight-year-old boy, and more than 144 wounded at the finish line.
Today, bosses at DS Media and Events, which oversees the Marathon of the North, vowed to ensure the “safety and wellbeing” of both runners and spectators.
Dave Roberts, from the group, said: “In organising the Marathon of the North, and associated events, the safety and wellbeing of runners is our highest priority.
“Our event plan has been designed to deal with all circumstances and includes the provision of full medical cover along the course.
“We are confident that our plan is robust and takes all possible eventualities into account.
“However, in light of events in Boston, we have requested a meeting with Northumbria Police today to review it, and will update it if advised.”
Thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets of Sunderland to cheer on the runners taking part in the event on Sunday, April 28.
Chris Alexander, chief operating officer for Sunderland Live, which also helps organise the “festival of running”, said: “Firstly, we must extend our sympathies to those affected by the dreadful events that took place in Boston.
“For a scene of what should be celebration and joy, to be devastated in such a way is almost beyond comprehension.
“We will now be working closely with our partners, DS Media and Events, and Northumbria Police, to review all plans that are in place for the Marathon of the North and associated events, and any necessary action will be taken to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of runners and spectators.”
Meanwhile, Steve Cram, who helped develop the Wearside run, said there would be concern among runners at this Sunday’s London Marathon.
However, the former long-distance runner, of Jarrow, South Tyneside, said he trusted that runners and spectators would be safe.
“We have a fantastic record in the UK of doing everything to stop this sort of thing happening, but there is only so much you can do,” he said. “Boston is the oldest established marathon in the world.
“It has a great tradition and that’s why people want to go and take part. These events attract people from all parts of society and all parts of the world and that’s the shame of it, because it’s not an attack on America, but on all of us.”
For more information about the event, visit www.marathonofthenorth.co.uk, email email@example.com or call 520 5518.