THE BLOG

After Boston, The London Marathon Has to Continue the Show of Defiance

16/04/2013 17:47 BST | Updated 16/06/2013 10:12 BST

The bombings in Boston are yet another tragic reminder of how indiscriminate terrorists are. They exist simply to create terror in the hope that fear alone will cause a retreat from freedom itself. The inalienable right that is central to our way of life.

But in this pursuit, the terrorists will never win. Just take a look at the footage in the immediate aftermath on the streets of Boston. Clearly the perpetrators thought by targeting a large public event broadcast on TV they would maximise damage, injury and impact. However, what we witnessed after the explosion were the police, National Guard, medics and ordinary citizens running towards the scene. They weren't cowering in fear but instinctively chose to disregard their own safety to support their fellow citizen. This is heroism and true defiance at its best.

But it would be naive to think that the events in Boston won't be playing on the minds of everyone from organisers to competitors in this weekend's London Marathon. Without doubt the security will be increased as a result. But to follow on from Boston's clear demonstration of community resolve in the face of such atrocities, the capital has a real role to play this weekend.

The marathon is one of my favourite events in London. Thousands of competitors raising millions for charity, putting themselves through 26 miles of pain in some of the most bizarre (and often heavy) costumes known to man raising money to do one thing - help those who are less fortunate. The competitors are cheered on by spectators who can often be seen shouting encouragement to complete strangers running past them out of sheer recognition, respect and celebration of their achievement. Spectators who then show sheer unbridled joy and emotion when they spot a friend or family member go past.

Add in the music, the parties, the banners and those strange inflatable sticks that make a noise 50 times louder than clapping your hands and you can't help to be enveloped in an overwhelming sense of community goodwill. Which, frankly is a rather fantastic thing when you consider how big a city London is.

When you watch terrible events unfold as we did on Monday, we can't help but feel a sense of powerlessness. We are left to simply watch endless, repeating footage with an ever increasing feeling of sadness or sickness at what we witness. But London's marathon this weekend offers us an opportunity for an immediate response. Let the politicians, security services and 24 hour news handle the pursuit of justice and let's stick to what we can do.

To extend the sense of community that we saw in Boston and to show defiance to the perpetrators I think we have to turn out and support London's brave 26 milers this weekend.

We have to create the same sense of community, we have to cheer for complete strangers and we have to find some of those sticks that make an unbelievable racket. We have to do these things because we need to reaffirm our indestructible commitment to having the freedom to live and enjoy our lives exactly the way we choose. So, competitors? Good luck, I'm in awe of your commitment and achievement. Spectators? Turn out, cheer and support just like before. Terrorists? You'll never win or break our resolve.