Gear up for the London Marathon this April 23. This event has always been observed in April each year but this changed in 2021 and 2022 after the Covid-19 pandemic made organizers move the marathon date to October. It is good to be back to the traditional April date. It is one of the six top-level marathon races in the world, in league with the Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York City, and Tokyo races. The London Marathon has several components. There is a mass race for the public, professional races for long-distance runners, elite-level wheelchair races, and a three-mile mini-marathon event for the under-17 athletes.
History of London Marathon
The London Marathon was founded by athletes, Chris Brasher and John Disley in 1981 and has been an ongoing event ever since. It is the third-largest running event in the U.K after the Great North Run and Great Manchester Run and since its inception, participants have helped raise over 1.2 billion dollars, including approximately 73.4 million dollars at the 2019 London Marathon which is the highest amount for a single-day fundraising event.
The London Marathon, as popular as it is today, was not the first long-distance running event in the UK. That title belongs to the Polytechnic Marathon which was founded in 1909 but was slowly overtaken by the London Marathon and finally folded in 1996. In the first edition of the London Marathon held on March 29, 1981, more than 20,000 people applied to run with 6,747 being accepted and 6,255 people crossing the finish line on Constitution Hill. The first wheelchair marathon race was held in 1983 and was credited with reducing the stigma surrounding disabled athletes.
Since then, the race and charity event has steadily grown seeing athletes from all over the world assemble in London for the event yearly. In 2010, about 36,549 people crossed the finish line and this is still the largest number seen since the race began. The marathon world record has been broken on seven occasions at the London Marathon. Eliud Kipchoge (2:02:37 in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in 2003) hold the current elite course records. The wheelchair course records are held by Marcel Hug (1:26:27 in 2021) and Manuela Schär (1:39:52 in 2021).
London Marathon timeline
Chris Brasher and John Disley organize the first edition of the London Marathon.
The first wheelchair marathon race is held in the London Marathon.
Paula Radcliffe sets a new world record with 2:15:25.
About 36,500 people crossed the finish line to set the record for most finishes in the London Marathon.
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge sets a new world record at 2:02:37.
Marcel Hug in 1:26:27 and Manuela Schär in 1:39:52 break the record for the wheelchair race for men and women respectively.
London Marathon FAQs
Is the London Marathon every year?
Yes, the event has been held every year since its inception.
How many ran in 2021?
About 80,000 people ran in the London Marathon in 2021.
Can you walk in the London Marathon?
The London Marathon is not a competitive event and so participants can go at their own pace.
London Marathon Activities
Participate in the marathon
Celebrate the day by applying to join the race. However, please keep in mind that this event is not for everyone. Only apply if you are capable and healthy.
Watch the race from home
Make it an event and watch the marathon with friends. Whether you’re present to watch it live, or you’re at home watching it, it’ll be a good experience.
Donate to a charity
Donate to a charity to celebrate the day. In terms of charity, nothing is ever too small to help another person.
5 Facts About The London Marathon
Over a million have finished the race
There have been 1,125,810 runners who have finished the London Marathon since its inception.
The fastest Briton record holder
Sir Mo Farah completed the London Marathon, in two hours, five minutes, and 39 seconds in 2019.
The oldest runner to complete the race
In 2002, 90-year-old Jenny Wood-Allen became the oldest runner to finish the race.
Couples get married at the Marathon
It won’t be a surprise to see wedding dresses at the marathon as couples have been known to get married at the event.
The fastest age group
According to Strava, the fastest runners at the event are in the 35 to 44 age group.
Why We Love London Marathon
It supports physical fitness
The event, as it is a sports event, supports physical fitness. This helps people around the world to be more health-conscious, especially with physical activity.
It supports charity
The event serves to raise funds for charity. It even holds the record for the most amount of funds raised for charity in a single day.
It serves to end discrimination
The event allows men, women, younger age groups, and the disabled to participate. This goes a long way in ending discrimination in the World.
London Marathon dates