Thousands defy terror threat and run proud in Manchester

Thousands defy terror threat and run proud in Manchester
Some 40,000 runners took part in Manchester's annual half marathon on Sunday, a week after a terror attack targeted children at a pop concert in the city's arena.
2 min read
28 May, 2017
Some 40,000 runners took part in the 'Great Run' in Manchester [Getty]

Thousands of Mancunians defied the nationwide terror threat to take part in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday, just a week after suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people at a concert in the city.

Security was tight as 40,000 runners pounded Manchester's streets in the annual half marathon (21.1 km/13.1 miles) a day after Prime Minister Theresa May lowered the terror threat level, which was hiked following a terror attack that targeted children at a pop concert to its highest possible lebel.

Competitors fell silent as the clocks struck 9am, followed by sustained applause as Oasis song 'Don't Look Back In Anger' played over the tannoy, sparking a sing-a-long.

"After everything that's happened in Manchester, to get everyone to come together, stand united, don't let them win, that's why I'm doing it," runner Ian McLellan, 45, told AFP.

The attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group, saw the 22-year-old militant of Libyan origin, target young fans at the end of a concert by US teen pop idol Ariana Grande in the Manchester Area.

Earlier this week, Grande promised to return to Manchester to play a charity concert following the tragedy, as she urged fans to respond with love.

In her first substantive comments since Monday's tragedy, the singer said she felt "uplift" by seeing fans' compassion.

The 23-year-old, who suspended her tour and returned to her Florida home to rest, said she planned a concert as "an expression of love for Manchester."

Money raised would go to the victims of the attack and their families.

"Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before," she said in an essay posted on her social media accounts.

"We won't let this divide us. We won't let hate win," she said.

Meanwhile, British counter-terror chief Mark Rowley said police had captured "a large part of the network" linked to the bombing.

In their latest operations, police detained two men, aged 20 and 22, in a raid in north Manchester early on Saturday.

Along with the 11 suspects in UK custody, police in Libya have detained Abedi's father and brother.