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Oakham runner just half-a-mile from Boston Marathon blast horror

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A runner from Oakham was just half-a-mile behind the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon which claimed the lives of three people.

Two bombs tore through the crowd at the finish line of the sports event on Monday in what President Obama called "a terrorist act."

An eight-year-old boy was among those killed and more than 170 people were injured in the explosion, with several losing limbs.

President Obama told a press conference the FBI are treating the explosion as an act of terrorism – but said it was not yet known who was responsible or why they targeted the marathon.

Speaking to the BBC, Paul Rogerson, the president of Rutland Running and Triathlon Club, called the attack a "complete tragedy."

"We were half-a-mile from the finishing line, literally just two blocks away," he said.

"Police then closed the road in front of us. About an hour later some people from the Boston Marathon came along and told us that there had been an explosion.

"They assured us that all runners were okay and brought us some water and blankets, because of course after running and then standing around for an hour, it was quite cold.

"It is just a terrible tragedy. They were innocent spectators - including a child - that were hurt.

I would say Boston is a city in shock really.

"Everyone here is very reflective about what has gone on.

"It was such a tragedy at what is a fun sporting event."

Meanwhile, those preparing for the London Marathon said they would be thinking about the victims of the Boston attack while they ran on Sunday.

Organisers of the race said they would be reviewing security of the event, which attracts around 38,000 runners, in light of the Boston tragedy.

Peter Fowler is running for the Lullaby Trust, which supports families and funds research into cot death.

He said the explosions revealed the "best and worst" of people.

"You have enormous numbers of competitors running and competing with the support of their families and friends, raising millions for charity," said the 53-year-old head teacher at Granby Primary School in Aylestone, Leicester.

"Then there is the worst where a small group of people wanting to kill and maim, which sadly they have achieved.

"I am now approaching London with renewed determination, refusing to let the attempts of these misguided individuals squash the goodwill and good works emanating from these great events.

"I will run on Sunday, keeping the bereaved families and the injured spectators in my thoughts as I run the 26.6 miles around the our capital city."

Thomas Clarke, 26, from Countesthorpe, said he felt he owed it to those who had died or been injured in Boston to run on Sunday in London.

The news producer, who is working in London said: "I was forced to pull out through injury last year and have no intentions of giving up my spot which I have worked so hard to achieve."

He is running for Cure Rett – a charity working to find a cure for Rett Syndrome, a rare and severe neurological disorder.

"I won't be letting the events of Boston put me off as that would be giving into the fear that terrorists feed off.

"We shouldn't be forced to change our life to suit others.

"We owe it as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives in Boston, as well as those who have suffered terrible injuries, to run in their memory on Sunday."

Sophie Albert from Kibworth also said she would not let the attack stop her raising money for charity.

"Friends did ask me if I was still going to do it and I am a bit nervous about it, but you can't let other people who do terrible things like that stop you from living your life," she said.

The 26-year-old personal trainer worked in Maine last summer at a children's holiday camp, and travelled to Boston most weekends to pick up visiting youngsters.

"I have a picture of me next to the big Boston Marathon sign and I remember thinking that I would love to run it.

"It is such a lovely place where I felt so safe, so it was so sad and horrible to see the pictures and the news."

Nicky Morgan, the Loughborough MP, said she will still running the London Marathon.

When asked on Daily Politics yesterday morning what she thought when she heard about the bombs, she said it was "tragic".

"I think that, with a marathon, everyone says the atmosphere will be amazing with lots of people at the finish line, waiting for their friends and family to finish, very excited.

"That was completely ruined within a matter of seconds."

She said she is looking forward to running on Sunday and had raised £1,401, which will be split between Rethink Mental Illness and Home-Start Charnwood.

"I think now Sunday will have a lot more poignancy for all those running," Ms Morgan said.

Prayers were held for the victims of the attack at Leicester Cathedral yesterday.

Canon Barry Naylor, the acting Dean of Leicester Cathedral, said: "We are devastated by the news from Boston, when death and destruction struck people celebrating a wonderful sporting occasion, having a day of relaxation and enjoyment.

"Our prayers at Leicester Cathedral are with all those injured, those who are bereaved, with the traumatised, those who have died and those who have the responsibility for bringing care and healing to all those affected."

Oakham runner just half-a-mile from Boston Marathon blast horror


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