Only a few more days until the Streets of London will be full of athletes, quirky costumes and spectators. All of them out in force to support the London Marathon and create history. In honour of this spectacular 26.2 mile event we have compiled 18 facts you didn’t know about this Great British race!
- The first London Marathon was in March 1981.
- Like many great ideas it began with a chat over a pint in the pub! Members of the Raneleigh Harriers running club were discussing the buzzing atmosphere of the New York Marathon. This in turn inspired John Disley and the late Chris Brasher to register for it. After completing the New York Marathon they were inspired to create a similar event in London.
- Princess Beatrice was the first Royal to complete the marathon in 2010.
- The fastest time taken to complete the marathon was 2 hours, 4 minutes, 29 seconds by Wilson Kipsang Kiprotichi from Kenya in 2014.
- Britain’s own Paula Radcliffe was the fastest ever female. She finished the race in 2 hours,15 minutes, 25 seconds in 2003. (In 2005 she made the headlines for a different reason after being ”caught-short’ and having to relieve herself on the roadside in the middle of the race.)
- In 1981 there were 7,747 runners, this year around 38,000 are expected to take part.
- The fastest time taken to complete the course in a vegetable costume (carrot) was 2h 59m 33s.
- The tallest costume ever worn in the race was of the Blackpool tower which was 26ft 2in tall. It took the competitor David Lawrenson 7 hours,19 seconds to finish the route.
- The longest time taken to officially complete the marathon was 5 days and 8 hours. This was how long it took extreme marathon runner Lloyd Scott in 2002 dressed in an antique deep sea diving suit that weighted 130 lbs. This record will never be broken as new regulations now state that the marathon has to be completed in 24 hours.
- Originally a group of 42 men, the ever-presents are an exclusive group who pride themselves in taking part in every marathon since 1981. However, there are no new members and if a member fails to complete a race they are dismissed from the group. Due to this there are now only 11 members remaining.
- British Astronaut Tim Peake was the first person to run a marathon in space. He took part in the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon to raise awareness for The Prince’s trust. Tim ran the 26.2 miles on a treadmill in space at the same time as the event on earth. He finished the space marathon in three hours, 35 minutes and 21 seconds. In this time he had also travelled more than twice around the planet.
- There will be 1,263 portable toilets across the marathon route plus 400 urinals.
- The oldest runner to complete the London Marathon was Fauja Singh in 2004 aged 93.
- The youngest runner to take part is Rebecca Manners who turned 18 on the day of the 2016 marathon.
- In 2015 London couple Laura Harvey and Paul Elliott took 45 minutes half way through the marathon route to get married at St Katherines Docks. They then went on to complete the marathon as husband and wife.
- There will be 23 water stations across the course with around 750,000 bottles of water available.
- 1,200 St Johns ambulance volunteers and health care professionals will be involved in the marathon, and 40,000 foil blankets will be given out.
- Last but definitely not least the London Marathon is one of the biggest fund raising events in the world. It has seen over £710 million raised for great causes over the years.