Runners at the 2013 Toronto Yonge St. 10K wore bibs in support of Boston.
Credits: ROB BENNEIAN/Toronto Sun
More than 7,500 people took part in the Toronto Yonge St. 10-kilometre run Sunday, less than a week after the Boston Marathon bombing killed three people and injured 176 others at Copley Square.
The race began with a moment of silence and ended at historic Fort York, where 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir, 30, held the blue finish tape.
"We are tough people," Korir of Kenya said. "You don't want to mess with us. We have the heart of a champion, the heart of a lion."If you want to mess with anybody, marathoners are the wrong group of people."
Toronto runner Andrew Hale was among those who vowed to remain defiant in the wake of the terrible events in Boston.
"You can't live your life scared like that," Hale said. "What am I going to do? Am I not going to go outside my doors and live sheltered because of something that happened? Absolutely not."
Brian O'Higgins had just crossed the finish line in Boston, taken a quick shower and laid down in his hotel room when all hell broke loose outside.
A veteran of the annual spring event, O'Higgins knew immediately after hearing the second bomb go off that the city was under attack.
"Someone checked the lobby and it was mass chaos, so we stayed in our room and then we were under lockdown," O'Higgins said Sunday from the lawn at Ottawa City Hall, where a large group of runners gathered in a show of solidarity, in an event dubbed Take Back the Finish Line.
Some runners wore the blue marathon jackets from running in Boston and bowed their heads during a minute of silence before making a symbolic jog around City Hall.
In England, undaunted by the Boston Marathon bombings, large crowds lined the route of London's mass road race Sunday to cheer on around 36,000 runners, many of whom wore black ribbons to honour Boston's dead and wounded.
"The silence before the marathon was beautiful ... it just felt as if everyone was together," Nathan Comer, 38, said, referring to a 30-second silence held in honour of the Boston victims before the race started.
One spectator held up a placard that read "Come on London, do it for Boston!" while some runners had the name of the US city emblazoned on their vests.
Wearing a black ribbon on her tracksuit top, American Tatyana McFadden dedicated her victory in Sunday's London Marathon wheelchair race to the people of Boston.
"Just the support that we're getting around the world means a lot especially back in Boston and to the athletes," McFadden said.
In Chatham, Ont., about 200 local runners in Sunday's Muddy River Run paid tribute to the Boston victims by Donning black ribbons and bowing their heads.
Veteran runner Renee Hartford said called it an appropriate time to mark the Boston tragedy.
"It's nice to see everyone come together," she said. "Our thoughts and prayers are still with everyone there."
-- with files from Reuters, Chris Hofley, Rob Benneian and Trevor Terfloth