Monday, May 29, 2017

Great Manchester Run: Thousands take part amid heightened security

Applause at Greater Manchester run

Tens of thousands of runners pounded the streets during an emotional occasion for Manchester, days after the arena attack that killed 22 people.
Armed police were stationed among spectators at the Great Manchester Run, the latest large-scale event to take place since Monday's suicide bombing.
A huge round of applause for the emergency services followed a minute's silence for the victims and casualties.
Runners set off under the banner #RunForManchester.

Runners gather at the start of the Great Manchester Run

An armed police officer oversees the race

"I heart Manchester" signs were dotted around the city, while runners and spectators are wearing yellow ribbons and bee symbols in a show of solidarity.
Oasis hit Don't Look Back in Anger was played on the loudspeakers following the minute's silence, a song which was spontaneously performed by a crowd after a silence in St Ann's Square in central Manchester on Thursday.
Poet Tony Walsh, who performs as Longfella, also read out his inspirational verse "Do Something" to the crowds.

Early arrivals for the 10k race found more police than runners, their vans clustered around Portland Street and the start line.
But as the junior run got under way there was little sign of trepidation among the crowd. Kids were smiling, their parents nervous. For security reasons? No, because they feared getting beaten to the finish line by their 10-year-olds.
As more runners arrived in the city, many of them streaming off trams at St Peter's Square, some admitted to a level of anxiety about the events of Monday.
But their presence is a reassuring one, and the smiles on their faces are also etched on those competitors striding towards the start line.
Asked why he was running, one man - Brian Leigh, 47, from Sale - summed it perfectly, " I'm running because I'm proud to be Mancunian". ( Mancunian or Manc is the term for people who live in Manchester)
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) gave the go-ahead for Sunday's athletics event, with additional security measures in force.
It included Europe's largest 10km run and, for the first time, a half-marathon.
Insp Phil Spurgeon, of GMP, said he wanted to encourage everyone to see Manchester as "open for business" and thanked people for their support towards his officers and staff since Monday.
"Support has come in many forms, from hugs and kind words to boxes of pizzas being delivered to police stations," he said.
"Just today, a lady who wanted to do her 'bit' for Manchester has arranged for a delivery of 2,400 tea bags to be brought to us to be able to make a warm brew after patrols."

Armed police watch over runners close to the starting line during the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run

He added: "Regardless of the support that we're receiving it's so important that we remember the people who matter most in this - the people who have lost their lives and their loved ones, and the people who were injured.
"We're thinking about you all."
Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese said: "It was not whether it was going to happen but how we could make it happen.
"We're all here for one reason. It is an act of defiance, an act of solidarity. It's a community coming together to share grief and to say Manchester will not be beaten by terrorism.
"People really want to be here to stand up to be counted. Seeking strength in each other."
Great Manchester Run's event director, Charlie Mussett said: "Manchester's not the
same place this week as it was last week. The event is not the same event. It represents a whole other thing. We're here for each other and to show the world we are unbowed and unbroken"
"We're showing respect for victims and families and the horror that the city has seen and hoping to lift their spirits by a show of solidarity."
"I think it's incredibly emotional."

Runners take part in the Great Manchester Run
 The bee is the emblem of Manchester

Of the 116 people who received NHS inpatient care in the days immediately after the attack, 54 continue to be treated across eight hospitals. Nineteen are in critical condition. Twelve men remain in custody on suspicion of  being part of the terrorist plot. There appears to be a cell of terrorists operating in the city.

Two women decorate their faces with pink hearts close to the starting line

Athletics legend Brendan Foster, founder of the Greater Manchester Run said: "All of our feelings this morning have been about the 22 people who died, their families and that terrible atrocity.
"But today is about not doing what [the terrorists] want us to do, change our way of life, be frightened, the people of Manchester are saying this is our city, you're not going to take away our independence. We are providing the stage for that."
I am constantly amazed, delighted and proud at the way people can draw together, unite and bond in times of trouble. Tragedy brings out the best in and compassion and always patriotism.
Stay strong and proud Manchester. That is the way to defeat terrorism. Our thoughts and hearts are with you all.

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