Athletes ready for London despite Boston tragedy

Rosie Allister
Rosie Allister

A Galashiels coach who has previously run the Boston Marathon hopes Monday’s explosions do not ruin this weekend’s London version.

Neil Renton is taking a Scottish Athletics squad of 24 under-15 and under-17 runners to the English capital for Sunday’s Mini Marathon event, which runs alongside the showcase 26-mile race.

And he hopes the team, which includes Thomas Otton from his club Gala Harriers, can still enjoy the occasion, despite a security review in wake of the two blasts near the finish line in Boston, which killed at least three people and injured more than 100.

Mr Renton told us: “There is already a high level of security at London. You can’t get to the finish without a pass, but I am sure the security level will now be heightened.

“We don’t want the young runners worrying about such things. We want them to turn up, enjoy their run and hopefully do well.”

It is not thought any Borderers competed this year in Boston, with Mr Renton taking part in the oldest marathon in the world 10 years ago.

The sports development officer added: “It is a physically-demanding race. Even going downhill is tough and I would say it was the toughest marathon I have taken part in.

“It takes place on Patriots Day, so there is a really good atomsphere.

“The marathon’s finish line is in an area with lots of shops, bars and restaurants, so it would be hard to police.

“There are so many people raising money for good causes at a marathon that you would think it would be sacrosanct, but it appears not. This is a tragic event for sport.”

Gordon wheelchair athlete Samantha Kinghorn will also travel to London to take part in the Mini Marathon, as she progresses towards qualifying for the Commonwealth Games.