About: Takes place in April
The London Marathon was conceived by former Olympic champion Chris Brasher as he witnessed first-hand the feeling of occasion and unity of the New York Marathon in 1979. Brasher returned to England and set about designing and planning an event that could rival the New York and Boston Marathon. Brasher managed to gain a £50,000 sponsorship contract and in June 1981 the London Marathon was born. The response was overwhelming- more than 20,000 people applied, 7,747 were accepted and 6,255 crossed the line of the first annual London Marathon.
In recent years more than 32,000 runners of more than 80,000 applicants complete the 26.2 mile course which follows the River Thames into the heart of London. The course has changed little over the years- though the finishing point has changed more than once. The race originally finished at Constitution Hill but was moved to Westminster Bridge in 1982. Restoration on Westminster Bridge in 1993 saw the finish moved to the Mall- were it remains today.
The London Marathon is designed to raise monies and awareness for charities throughout the United Kingdom which sees many runners adopting novelty costumes and themes during their run. However the London Marathon is still an event that the world’s elite distance runners strive to win. One of the greatest athletic performances was shown by Paula Radcliffe in 2002 when she broke the record by more than three minutes, only to smash it by a further two minutes the following year.