Runners across the UK and around the world responded with shock and dismay as reports of events at Boston marathon unfolded yesterday with two explosions near the finishing line leaving three people dead and at least 140 injured.
This morning BBC News is reporting that 17 people are critically wounded and that injuries include several amputations. According to US media one of the dead was an eight-year-old boy. In a televised address, President Barack Obama vowed to bring those behind the attack to justice.
Reports started to filter through after 20:00 GMT yesterday (Monday 15 April) of explosions about two hours after the winners crossed the line. The first explosion was on the north side of Boylston Street, and this caused initial confusion and panic. Some runners fell to the floor while police and bystanders ran to help those caught in the blast. Seconds later, another explosion ripped into the crowd further away from the finishing line, between 50 and 100 metres from the first blast.
TV footage showed bloodied runners and spectators being treated at the scene and the road strewn with debris. Rescuers tore down temporary fencing to reach the casualties. Medical officials speak of at least 140 injured, with injuries including severed limbs, shrapnel wounds, cuts and bruises.
Sports Tours International, who had a number of runners from the UK at Boston marathon, issued a statement on their Facebook page:
"We were deeply shocked to witness the incident at Boston marathon. Our staff in Boston and our UK Incident Response team has made contact with each of our runners and they are safe and accounted for. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible tragedy."
Runners everywhere will share those sentiments as they come to terms with a shocking violation of a historic sporting event that, like so many big marathons around the world, is synonymous with tremendous personal effort, support of numerous good causes and international solidarity.