Westminster, Nice, Paris and Dortmund have all been hit in recent times as marathon organisers look to ensure safety
LONDON MARATHON chiefs admit they have ramped up security for Sunday’s event in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.
Over 50,000 runners will race the 26.2 mile course with the finish line on The Mall – yards from Buckingham Palace – as well as elite athletes including Britain’s Jo Pavey and Ethiopian distance legend Kenenisa Bekele.
Hundreds of thousands more are expected to line the streets of the capital cheering the competitors on.
But in the wake of last month’s Westminster terror attack as well as those in Nice, Berlin and also Paris on Thursday night Marathon chiefs have stepped up security.
They have previous experience after the 2013 London Marathon was held less than a week after the bombing at the Boston Marathon which killed three people and injured hundreds including 16 who lost limbs.
Every single runner taking part on Sunday has also been emailed advising them to try and meet their families and friends away from The Mall where security will be at its tightest.
London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher said: “We work incredibly closely with the Met police, the Mayor and TFL.
“Obviously a lot of things were ramped up after the atrocity in Nice, then Berlin and in Westminster four weeks ago. There are lots of plans, really robust security measures in place. It is intrinsic in what we do.
“I can say we have really deeply looked at everything. It’s looked at again and again and again.
“We have already put out announcements to runners for their spectators in certain areas that there are measures that will mean they have to meet in different places. We’ve sent e-mails out.
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“We don’t talk about any individual measure – we just cannot. Or it can negate the effect. But we have asked people towards the finish end to potentially meet their loved ones a little bit further away because there are additional measures for access.”
Brasher, whose dad Chris first set up the now world-famous event in 1981 with athlete John Disley, said: “You work with all the available intelligence there is and London is very used to a terrorist threat going back to the IRA in the 80s.
“I remember talking to my father about the IRA and what was happening. London’s level of security is at severe and it has stayed at severe for the last four years.
“We have never been advised to cancel the event in the current climate. Absolutely not.”
Brasher said: “The Boston attack was on the Monday before the London Marathon. We heard about it at 7.45pm but one of our staff was out there and we worked very closely.
“We’re always sharing information about what each other’s races do in terms of security threats in Boston, in New York, in Berlin. And I’m absolutely certain that as part of the debrief what we will be doing is talking in great detail about what we did from this event. It’s all about sharing best practices.”
Cops have also warned the public to be “vigilant” but the Met say “hundreds of officers” will be out in force along the route.
On March 22 British-born terrorist Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer to death outside the Houses of Parliament.
The attack left six people, including Masood, dead.