By Emily Goddard at the Tower Hotel in London

boston marathon bomb memorialApril 19 - Runners at this Sunday's (April 21) Virgin London Marathon will observe a 30-second silence in respect to the victims of the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon this week, while the organisers will donate £2 ($3/€2.30) to The One Fund Boston for every finisher of the race.

The silence will take place before the start of the elite men's race and mass start and will be observed on all three London Marathon starts – red, blue and green – signalled by a whistle at both the beginning and end of the 30 seconds.

With about 35,000 people expected to cross the finish line on Sunday, Virgin London Marathon expects to raise at least £70,000 ($107,000/€82,000) for the fund for the victims of the two fatal explosions, which killed at least three people and left nearly 200 injured, in the Massachusetts capital on Monday (April 15).

Equally, the London Marathon has sent a link to the Boston fundraising page to all its runners, encouraging them to make their own donations. 

Runners are also being encouraged to wear a black ribbon during the London Marathon to mark the tragic events that have unfolded in Boston in the last 24 hours, with ribbons being given to all participants when they pick up their race number at the Expo.

boston marathon bomb memorial1Runners of the Virgin London Marathon are being encouraged to wear a black ribbon as a mark of respect to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing

"Everyone connected with the London Marathon was shocked by the terrible events in Boston, and we are keen to show our support to the victims' families and our friends in the running community there," Hugh Brasher, Virgin London Marathon's race director, explained.

"As soon as we heard about The One Fund Boston we decided to make a donation.

"Our pledge to give £2 for every finisher at the 2013 Virgin London Marathon seemed an appropriate and fitting way to make our contribution.

"We are determined to deliver an amazing event that will focus on one of the core pillars of the London Marathon, which is 'to have fun and provide some happiness and a sense of achievement in a troubled world.'"

Brasher's counterpart at the Boston Marathon, Tom Grilk, welcomed the news and expressed his thanks for the London Marathon's support.

"It was the City of Boston that was attacked this week, and we are deeply gratified that the citizens of Boston are receiving so many displays of support," he said.

"We remember the Star Spangled Banner being played at the Changing of the Guard after 9/11.

"We will remember what the runners in London and the organisers of the Virgin London Marathon are doing on Sunday.

"On behalf of everyone, thank you."

A manhunt is currently underway for one of the two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon, with police having locked down most of the city.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains at large after he escaped a shoot-out in which the other suspect, his brother, died.

David Bedford 1904513Dave Bedford will be the official starter of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon

Meanwhile, the race's former director of 19 years, David Bedford, has been confirmed as the official starter of this year's Virgin London Marathon.

The former 10,000 metres world record holder will send some 36,000 runners off on their 26.2-mile journey through London to The Mall when he pushes the famous red button at the blue start on Shooters Hill.

Although he stepped down as director in 2012, Bedford is still responsible for the event's elite fields and this year he has assembled some of the greatest ever seen in the 32-year history of the iconic event, including 15 London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists, with five of these being marathon champions from last summer's Games.

Prince Harry, who is a patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, will present the first three finishers in the elite men's, women's, wheelchair and IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup races with medals.

President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sir Philip Craven and Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia will also will join the Prince at the finish.

The elite field will be followed by thousands of club athletes, fun runners, charity fundraisers, celebrities and politicians.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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