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April 18, 2013

Security on minds of London runners after Boston

LONDON — For Geoffrey Mutai, the bombs that ripped through Boston stripped away some of the innocence and freedom from marathon running.

“Sport is like church, it’s not a place where you can take arms,” the Kenyan said on Wednesday. “It is a free area where we can stay free and enjoy ourselves with no politics.”

But Mutai watched from afar Monday as the scene of one of his great triumphs two years ago turned into one of horror.

With three people killed and more than 170 wounded by the twin blasts near the Boston Marathon finish line, Mutai is apprehensive as he prepares to take on the London Marathon on Sunday.

And he fears marathons might never be the same.

“They have taken our freedom which we normally have in races,” Mutai said. “When you are in a race you are relaxed and you are enjoying yourself and free to go anywhere.

“But now there must be watertight security, they cannot be having as many people at the end of the race.”

The roar of the crowd along the route will leave Mutai on edge, fearing he is hearing “some sounds of the bomb.”

“It will be challenging for the sport,” said the Kenyan, who ran the world’s unofficial fastest time in Boston in 2011.

The bombs in Boston, which President Barack Obama called an “act of terror,” exploded about four hours into the race and two hours after the men’s winner crossed the finish line.

“Normally in a race you have not prepared yourself psychologically that something can happen like that,” Mutai said. “So even in your mind you are not free (now) ... it’s bringing another thing to sports which is not good.”

Despite receiving no assurances about security on Sunday, Mutai has no concerns about his wife watching him bid for a first London title.

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