“IT WAS an absolutely awesome experience.”
These were the words of Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney, minutes after he and thousands of others had completed the London Marathon.
And with the eyes of the world on London, just days after the tragedies of the Boston Marathon, the atmosphere was everything.
Mr McCartney and other local runners, including Elland chef Jonathan Nichols and accountant David Waite, were overwhelmed by the support of the crowd.
“The silence we held for the Boston victims before the start of the race was so touching,” said Mr Waite.
“And the crowds all the way round were so good. It was a marvellous atmosphere.”
David, 30, who lives in Lindley, works for marketing firm Reactiv in Elland.
He was delighted with his time of 3 hours 3 mins, a full 13 minutes better than last year’s time.
“I would have liked to have got under three hours but I’ve got to be happy beating last year’s time. And I hope I have raised a good deal of money for Scope.”
Mr McCartney was also counting the sponsorship pennies last night and hopes to collect about £3,000 for the Brackenhall-based Forget me Not Children’s Hospice.
He said: “It was an awesome experience and a truly great day.
“It was so well organised and so well supported. We had the silence before the start for the Boston victims and like many, I wore a black ribbon as a mark of respect.
“I’m delighted I managed to run all the way, although after a toilet break at 20 miles, I took a little longer than I had hoped.
“I had never run more than 16 miles before and those extra miles were really hard.The toughest part was actually running past Parliament on the final stretches.
“I’m delighted with my time of 4 hours 44 minutes, with the sponsorship I have raised and with the staggering £50m that all the runners made today.”
Chef Jonathan, of La Cachette restaurant and bar, ran for the third year in a row and hopes to raise £2,500 for the NSPCC.
He admitted: “It was a bit of a painful run as I injured my hamstring in training three weeks ago.
“But I still managed 4 hours and 21 minutes and the reaction of the crowd all the way around the course was amazing.”
Other local runners included Pat Ainsworth, of Emley, running her 16th London Marathon.
She finished in 6hrs 22 mins and 03 seconds.
Friends Lyndsay White and Sue Pyke were running in memory of Lyndsay’s teenage son Charlie who died a year ago. Sue finished in 6hrs 5mins but Lyndsay had to retire.
Gabriella Granata, running for Multiple Sclerosis, finished in a time of 5hrs 30 mins and 19 secs, and Grange Moor’s Vicky Routledge-White ran the course in 6 hrs 15 mins and 28 secs.
Brighouse’s Osman Chohan clocked a time of 5hrs 25mins and 37secs.
LONDON Marathon runners pounded the capital’s streets after holding half a minute’s silence in memory of those who died in the Boston bomb attacks.
Amid tightened security to reassure the racers and crowds, there was a 30-second silence just before the start of the men’s elite race and mass start at 10am.
Among the many thousands watching the race was Prince Harry, who paid tribute to the “remarkable” way the people of Boston had dealt with the deadly attacks.
Harry said it was “never an option” for him to not attend the London event despite the two bombs which exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon last Monday.
Many of the 36,000 fun-runners, athletes and fundraisers wore black ribbons in a show of solidarity after three people were killed and 180 injured in the Massachusetts blasts.
Virgin London Marathon has pledged to donate £2 for every finisher in today’s event to The One Fund Boston set up to raise money for victims of the explosions.
But organisers have stressed that as well as showing defiance and spirit in the showpiece event, the participants were there to have fun around the famous 26.2 mile course.
As usual the route was filled with runners in all kinds of fancy dress, including people dressed as a Roman soldier, Batman and Jack Sparrow.
Harry made the presentations to the winners who include Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede who came first in the men’s race and Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo who won the women’s.
But Paralympic star David Weir said he was disappointed with his fifth place in the men’s wheelchair race.
Speaking near the finish line, the six-time London Marathon champion said: “It was a tough race, but I knew it was going to be tough after four months out.
“I just had to do my best, and that’s what I did today.”
Britain’s Shelly Woods also took fifth place in the women’s event.
London 2012 double champion Mo Farah said he had to run to even get to the race after oversleeping this morning.
He only ran half the course as planned, as he said he wanted to concentrate on track running this year rather than long distance.
Earlier Geoff Wightman, the event commentator, announced over loudspeakers before the half-minute silence: “Marathon running is a global sport. It unites runners and supporters on every continent in pursuit of a common challenge and in the spirit of friendship and fellowship.
“This week the world marathon family was shocked and saddened by the events at the Boston Marathon.
“In a few moments a whistle will sound and we will join together in silence to remember our friends and colleagues for whom a day of joy turned into a day of sadness.
“Let us now show our respect and support for the victims of the tragedy in Boston.”
The silence appeared to be perfectly observed.