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Toronto Marathon runners show support for Boston bombing victims


11:26, May 06, 2013

TORONTO, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Besides testing their physical limits, thousands of runners took part in the Toronto Marathon on Sunday to pay tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The tragedy in Boston, which killed three people and injured over 260 others just last month, set the tone for the 35th annual run - a qualifier for the Boston Marathon - in the Canadian city of Toronto.

Besides a moment of silence before the 42-kilometer race, there were many small visual reminders throughout the event. Marathoners donned blue-and-yellow outfits, had small "Remember Boston" ribbons printed on their bibs, and special T-shirts that read "Boston, we run with you", to show their support.

Instead of deterring participants from coming out to take part in the run this year, the event's race director Jay Glassman said it's brought out even more people than usual.

"There was a bit of a spike with people that weren't necessarily going to run or hadn't trained to run, but decided to run because of what happened just to show their solidarity with the running community," he said.

The event drew out runners from 50 different countries and regions, and roughly 60,000 spectators who came out to cheer for friends, family and strangers.

Immediately after the bombings in Boston, the Toronto Marathon posted a statement on their website to inform the public they're working closely with the police to ensure the safety and security of all participants and spectators. Glassman said officers were patrolling the course as usual, but couldn't speak to specifics due to security concerns.

But safety was the last thing on many runners' minds on Sunday. Shirley Steele said the recent events have just motivated her more to qualify for the Boston Marathon next year.

"I think having it happen has made me want to run it that much more, hopefully I'll make it there next year," she said.

Another seasoned runner, Dave Bolan, said he tries not to let potential threats like this hold him back in life.

"We can't let terrorism slow us down," he said. "Ever since 9//11, any gathering where you get 10,000 or more people could be a target...But it'll be harder as we're approaching the finish line not to think about it."

Allan Mayhew, an ex-marathoner who's ran several times in the Boston Marathon, says there's a special bond between runners that make them all stick together, through thick and thin. It's been 10 years since Mayhew has been to the Toronto Marathon, but he came this year to support Boston by wearing his full blue-and-yellow outfit, and waving a special Boston Marathon flag at the sidelines to cheer everyone on.

"That's the running community, that's the people, they've got big hearts and they support one another," he said. "When I saw what happened in Boston, and having run it, it really touches your heart because I ran across that finish line three times."

Other than the full marathon, runners also took part in the half marathon, 5 km run and/walk, and a team relay race.

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