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The History of the London Marathon

The London Marathon is one of the most prestigious and iconic long-distance running events in the world. Here's a brief history of how it came to be:

  1. Inception: The idea for the London Marathon was conceived by Chris Brasher, a British Olympic champion, and John Disley, a former steeplechaser. They were inspired by the New York City Marathon and wanted to create a similar event in London.

  2. First Race (1981): The inaugural London Marathon took place on March 29, 1981. It attracted 7,747 participants and started in Greenwich and finished at Buckingham Palace. American Dick Beardsley and Norwegian Inge Simonsen crossed the finish line hand in hand, as joint winners, with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 48 seconds.

  3. Royal Patronage: The London Marathon gained royal patronage early on, with Prince Charles officially starting the race in 1981. Since then, members of the British royal family have regularly participated in or supported the event.

  4. Charitable Aspect: From its inception, the London Marathon has had a strong charitable focus. Participants are encouraged to raise funds for various charitable causes, and the event has raised hundreds of millions of pounds for charity over the years.

  5. Route Changes: While the finish line has remained at Buckingham Palace, the route of the London Marathon has undergone several changes over the years to accommodate the growing number of participants and improve the runner experience.

  6. Elite Competition: The London Marathon attracts elite runners from around the world. It is one of the six World Marathon Majors, along with the marathons in Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. The event has seen numerous world records broken and iconic performances from elite athletes.

  7. Innovations: The London Marathon has been a pioneer in introducing innovations to the sport, such as the use of chip timing for accurate results, mass race starts with staggered seeding, and live television coverage.

  8. Mass Participation: The London Marathon has grown significantly since its inception, with tens of thousands of participants from all over the world taking part each year. It has become a bucket list event for many amateur runners, charity fundraisers, and elite athletes alike.

  9. Celebrity Runners: Over the years, the London Marathon has seen participation from various celebrities, including actors, musicians, politicians, and sports personalities, adding to the event's appeal and media coverage.

  10. Impact and Legacy: The London Marathon has had a profound impact on the sport of distance running, as well as the city of London itself. It promotes fitness, raises awareness for charitable causes, and brings together people from diverse backgrounds in a celebration of athleticism and community spirit.

Overall, the London Marathon has become an iconic event that continues to inspire and captivate runners and spectators alike, making it a highlight of the global running calendar.

If you feel inspired to take part n the next London Marathon, there are hundreds of running events to find and enter at BookitZone to help with your training goals.

2nd March 2024, 18:38
Page updated 2nd Mar 2024, 18:44
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