Distance running greats Haile Gebrselassie and Paula Radcliffe were among those stunned by the twin blasts that left at least two dead and dozens injured at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
“Horrified to hear news of bomb explosion near Boston marathon finish,” Britain’s Radcliffe said on Twitter before the extent of the damage was known.
“Situation looks awful, thoughts with everyone,” the fastest women’s marathoner in history added later. “There are some very sick people out there, who would do something like this?”
Ethiopia’s Gebrselassie deplored what marathon organizers said was a bomb attack, although law enforcement officials did not immediately confirm the cause of the explosions.
“Running brings people together, but what just happened in Boston is terrible,” he said on Twitter. “My thoughts are with everybody in Boston.”
Race organizers said on Facebook that “two bombs” exploded near the finish line, without providing a source for the information.
“We are working with law enforcement to understand what exactly has happened,” the Boston Athletic Association said.
Elite race winners Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya had already donned the traditional olive wreaths awarded the victors of the venerable race and departed when the explosions sent terrified runners, spectators and event workers fleeing.
Police did not immediately say whether the explosions were part of a terrorist attack, but marathon organizers said it was a twin bombing and media outlets reported that other unexploded devices had been found nearby.
“Very sad news about Boston, thinking of everyone whos been affected by it,” Tweeted British Paralympic athlete David Weir, a six-time winner of the wheelchair division of the London Marathon and a multiple gold medallist at the Paralympic Games.
Joel Laine, head of the Paris Marathon which passed off peacefully earlier this month, told AFP he feared the explosions would have a chilling effect on the runners scheduled to compete in the London Marathon on Sunday.
“There will be without doubt a climate of suspicion for a good while surrounding these type of events. I am thinking notably of the London Marathon,” Laine said. “I am thinking of the anxiety this will instill in the competitors and their families.”
London Marathon organisers said they would review their security arrangements, but chief executive Nick Bitel said the race would go on.
“Our immediate thoughts are with the people there and their families. It is a very sad day for athletics and for our friends and colleagues in marathon running,” Bitel said, later telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “We will not be cancelling, what we are doing, we are reviewing.”
The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world, first organized by the Boston Athletic Association in 1897 in the wake of the first modern-day marathon competition at the 1896 Olympics.
Nowadays the event is one of six World Marathon Majors, attracting elite racers from around the world as well as thousands of recreational runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators.
Traditionally held on the third Monday of April, Massachusetts’ Patriots’ Day state holiday, the race features a demanding course highlighted by “Heartbreak Hill” — a relatively modest rise that nevertheless challenges contestants because of its position late in the 26.2 mile race.
US sports agencies were quick to offer sympathy to all affected.
“The Boston Marathon is one of this country’s great events and the BAA is one of this sport’s finest organizations,” USA Track & Field chief executive Max Siegel said.
“Runners across the country are coming together with all Americans and the people of Boston to support one another during this difficult day.”
The shock wasn’t limited to the athletics world.
“Prayers goes out to those involved/hurt in Boston Marathon,” NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted. “WTF is wrong with people man. Just sad”.
Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing
"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.
"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.
I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"
The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.
"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.
[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]
Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’
Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.
Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.
Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him
Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.
In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.