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London marathon gets underway

36,000 runners, including six South Africans, are expected to take part in Sunday’s race.

A screen grab from a private video shows the smoke after one of the explosions at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Picture: AFP

LONDON - The London Marathon kicked off on Sunday with metropolitan police saying they were in close contact with authorities in Boston.

They believe there is no real threat.

This is the first major international marathon since the Boston Marathon last week where two bombs killed three people and injured 170.

36,000 runners, including six South Africans are expected, to take part in Sunday's race.

Police in London said hundreds more officers have been deployed this year to keep the route secure.

Although the police will not give away the exact numbers of police on duty, they have revealed that their presence has been boosted by 40 percent this year.

They have also asked spectators and hundreds of competitors to be vigilant and to keep alert to any unattended baggage.

The weather is cool but sunny and many of the runners are choosing to wear a black armband to raise funds to support victims of the Boston bombings.

The 40 kilometre race past many of London's famous landmarks poses a tough challenge to security, though few if any competitors have cancelled and Prince Harry has vowed to attend to present the medals.

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