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London Marathon

London Marathon

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Runners surge out of the Blackfriars Bridge underpass onto the Victoria Embankment; two miles to go

The London Marathon is a road marathon that has been held each year in London since 1981, usually in April. In addition to being one of the top five international marathons run over the traditional distance of 42.195 km (26 miles and 385 yards), it is also a large, celebratory sporting festival.

According to the race organisers, it is now the largest annual fund raising event in the world with the 2006 participants raising over £41.5million for charity, bringing the total amount raised for charity by runners, to a grand total of £315 million.[1]. In 2007, 78% of all runners are raising money. The annual amount is some five times more than the New York City Marathon.[2]

It is one of the World Marathon Majors, a two-year series of elite marathon racing that also includes the Boston, Chicago, New York and Berlin marathons.

The 2007 race took place on the 22 April.

Indiana Jones runs the London Marathon

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History

The London Marathon was founded by former Olympic champion and renowned journalist Chris Brasher, who was influenced by the New York Marathon and aspired to establish a race of this scale. In the 1908 Olympics, the length of the course was 26 miles 385 yards to White City, thus setting the standard length of modern marathons ever since.

The London Marathon came into existence on March 29, 1981, when nearly 7,500 athletes participated in the race. Its popularity has steadily grown. In 2007, 36,396 people started the marathon, which is the biggest field since the race began. As many as 125,000 people originally applied to run and 49,963 applications were accepted.[3]

The race is currently organised by former 10,000m world record holder David Bedford. Bedford has overseen a period of great change for the race, including amendments to the course in 2005 which saw the famous cobbled section by the Tower of London replaced with a flat stretch along the Highway.[4]

London Marathon

Source

Both front and back of the medal from the London Marathon 2007

Whilst it is a serious athletic event, with large prize money attracting elite athletes, public perception of the race is dominated by club and fun runners. Sometimes in ludicrous fancy dress and often collecting money for charity, these make up the bulk of the 30,000+ runners and help to draw crowds of half a million on the streets. Nine people have died in relation to running the London Marathon since the event began, with the most recent being a 22-year-old man[5] who died of hyponatremia[6].

On April 19, 2003, former boxer Michael Watson, who had been told he would never be able to walk again after a fight with Chris Eubank, made headlines by finishing the marathon in six days, becoming a national hero in England.

In 2006 Sir Steve Redgrave (winner of five consecutive Olympic Gold Medals) set a new Guinness World Record for money raised through a marathon by collecting £1.8 million in sponsorship. This broke the record set the previous year by the founder of the Oasis Trust, Steve Chalke MBE, who had collected over £1.25 million. Steve Chalke aims to recover the record in 2007.

Course description

The course starts in three separate points around Blackheath at 115ft above sea level, on the south of the Thames. All the runners eventually converging in Woolwich where the Royal Artillery Barracks is passed, the route descending from 140ft to 35ft over a period of half a mile.

At approximately 6 ½ miles runners go around the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Then the course goes through Surrey Quays, Bermondsey and along Jamaica Road before reaching Tower Bridge at around 12 miles. The runners then cross the Thames, turning east along The Highway through Wapping to the Isle of Dogs, before returning back along The Highway passing the Tower of London at 22 ½ miles.

The route now follows the Thames along the Embankment up to the Houses of parliament where it turns toward St James's Park and Buckingham Palace, finishing in The Mall.

London Marathon

Source

Crowds turn out on the Victoria Embankment to watch the London Marathon 2005.

Results

Run over a largely flat course around the River Thames, the London Marathon is generally regarded as a very competitive and unpredictable event, and conducive to fast times. The record times are shown in bold below and also highlighted in the history tables:

  • 2:05:38 for men (Khalid Khannouchi, USA) in 2002 and
  • 2:15:25 for women (Paula Radcliffe, UK) in 2003.

Men's race

Winning times for the London Marathon Men’s race

Year Athlete Time
1981 Inge Simonsen & Dick Beardsley 2:11:48
(dead heat)
1982 Hugh Jones 2:09:24
1983 Mike Gratton 2:09:43
1984 Charlie Spedding 2:09:57
1985 Steve Jones 2:08:16
1986 Toshihiko Seko 2:10:02
1987 Hiromi Taniguchi 2:09:50
1988 Henrik Jørgensen 2:10:20
1989 Douglas Wakiihuri 2:09:03
1990 Allister Hutton 2:10:10
1991 Yakov Tolstikov 2:09:17
1992 António Pinto 2:10:02
1993 Eamonn Martin 2:10:50
1994 Dionicio Cerón 2:08:53
1995 Dionicio Cerón 2:08:30
1996 Dionicio Cerón 2:10:00
1997 António Pinto 2:07:55
1998 Abel Antón 2:07:57
1999 Abdelkader El Mouaziz 2:07:57
2000 António Pinto 2:06:36
2001 Abdelkader El Mouaziz 2:07:09
2002 Khalid Khannouchi 2:05:38
(Men's World Record)
2003 Gezahegne Abera 2:07:56
2004 Evans Rutto 2:06:18
2005 Martin Lel 2:07:35
2006 Felix Limo 2:06:39
2007 Martin Lel 2:07:41[7]

Women's race

Winning times for the London Marathon Women’s race

Year Athlete Time
1981 Joyce Smith 2:29:57
1982 Joyce Smith 2:29:43
1983 Grete Waitz 2:25:29
1984 Ingrid Kristiansen 2:24:26
1985 Ingrid Kristiansen 2:21:06
1986 Grete Waitz 2:24:54
1987 Ingrid Kristiansen 2:22:48
1988 Ingrid Kristiansen 2:25:41
1989 Véronique Marot 2:25:56
1990 Wanda Panfil 2:26:31
1991 Rosa Mota 2:26:14
1992 Katrin Dörre-Heinig 2:29:39
1993 Katrin Dörre-Heinig 2:27:09
1994 Katrin Dörre-Heinig 2:32:34
1995 Małgorzata Sobańska 2:27:43
1996 Liz McColgan 2:27:54
1997 Joyce Chepchumba 2:26:51
1998 Catherina McKiernan 2:26:26
1999 Joyce Chepchumba 2:23:22
2000 Tegla Laroupe 2:24:33
2001 Derartu Tulu 2:23:57
2002 Paula Radcliffe 2:18:56
2003 Paula Radcliffe 2:15:25
(Women's World Record)
2004 Margaret Okayo 2:22:35
2005 Paula Radcliffe 2:17:42
(Women Only World Best)
2006 Deena Kastor 2:19:35
2007 Zhou Chunxiu 2:20:38[8]

Men's wheelchair race

Winning times for the London Marathon Men’s wheelchair race

Year Athlete Time
2002 David Weir 1:39:44
2003 Joel Jeannot 1:32:02
2004 Saúl Mendoza  
2005 Saúl Mendoza 1:35:51
2006 David Weir 1:29:48
2007 David Weir 1:30:51

Women's wheelchair race

Winning times for the London Marathon Women’s wheelchair race

Year Athlete Time
1997 Tanni Grey-Thompson  
1998 Tanni Grey-Thompson  
1999 Tanni Grey-Thompson  
2000 Sarah Piercy 2:23:30
2001 Tanni Grey-Thompson  
2002 Tanni Grey-Thompson 2:22:51
2003 Francesca Porcellato 2:04:21
2004 Francesca Porcellato 2:05:00
2005 Francesca Porcellato 1:57:00
2006 Francesca Porcellato 1:59:57
2007 Shelly Woods 1:50:41

References and Notes

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