Madrid Marathon to go ahead, pay homage to Boston victims

Madrid, April 17 (IANS) The Madrid Marathon will go ahead despite the attack on the Boston Marathon Monday which left three people dead and over 100 injured.

Guillermo Jimenez, president of the Madrid Marathon which celebrates its 36th edition April 28, confirmed the event Tuesday, in which around 26,000 people are expected to participate.

“The first thing we need to do is to show our solidarity with the victims of the barbarous attack in Boston and with the people who have suffered as a result of this madness,” he said.

The Madrid Marathon is one of the 27 races that form part of the Rock n Roll Series, of which 21 are held in the United States and Canada and six in Europe.

“We are all exposed to a barbarity of this kind, which is impossible to predict and difficult to control,” added Jimenez, who praised authorities and medical staff on hand in Boston for their swift reaction. He added that the organisers of the Madrid Marathon had been in contact with Cristina Cifuetes, the government delegate for security, and confirmed the event would proceed, with extra security measures.

“We have been meeting with those responsible for all of the infrastructures of the City Hall and with the government delegate. We are continuing with firm steps, with sadness, but the Madrid Marathon will go ahead and we will take all of the measures which are necessary,” he concluded.

Earlier in the day, director of the Madrid Marathon Pedro Rumbao said that they were waiting for further news of the explosions in Boston, adding they had got into contact with authorities as soon as the news of the attack had broken Monday.

Madrid is in the middle of a campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games in which it is competing against Tokyo and Istanbul and Tuesday the Madrid 2020 campaign offered its condolences to Boston with bid president Alejandro Blanco sending his condolences.

“A marathon and especially a popular marathon is a sporting celebration. It shows better than anything the effort, hopes and courage of thousands of people who battle themselves to finish the race. Sport should serve to unite people and go beyond ideologies and nationalism. More than ever we are with Boston today,” said Blanco, who added that the Madrid 2020 candidacy would pay a homage to the Boston victims April 28.

Like Boston and London, which celebrates its marathon April 21, Madrid suffered from a major terrorist attack when 191 people died in a series of bomb explosions in commuter trains by an Al-Qaeda inspired group March 11, 2004.

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