The London Marathon is a very famous event in The UK. It’s a running event held each year in London as a part of World Marathon Majors. The London Marathon was first held on 29 March, 1981. Since then it is being regularly held each year in spring. It was most recently held on 24 April, 2016.
Former Olympic champion Chris Brasher and famous athlete John Disley were the founders of this event. Chris Brasher was also a journalist and after competing in the New York City Marathon in 1970, he was inspired with how people came together for that occasion and wrote about it. In the next year he along with his friend john Disely visited America to study the management and organisation of the big marathon events there. They also signed a contract with a famous company to bring the marathon to UK.
Currently the race is organised by Hugh Brasher, who is the son of Chris Brasher, as the Race Director and by Nick Bitel as the Chief Executive. For 25 years Dr Dan Tunstall Pedoe served as the Medical Director of the race until 2005, the most any Medical Director served for the marathon. Medical cover is now provided by almost 150 experienced doctors who specialise in intensive care, internal medicine, orthopedics, sports medicine and anesthetics. Apart from that almost 1500 volunteers from the St. John Ambulance also assist the doctors and more than medical 50 camps are made along the whole route of the marathon.
British Broadcasting Centre (BBC) covers the marathon. The theme music of the marathon and the coverage is “Main Titles to the Trap” which was composed for the film “The Trap” by Ron Goodwin, a famous English music composer. The race takes place on a flat course around the famous River Thames. There are three separate starting points for the race around Blackheath. The race finishes at The Mall near St. James’s Park. For the race following are the groups:
• Elite Women
• Wheelchair (Men and Women)
• Elite Men
• Mass Race
It is worth mentioning here that since the very first London Marathon, its course has not undergone any significant changes. In terms of participants is stands at third place in the UK but it is a very celebrated event. Its importance can also be estimated by keeping in mind that since 1981 the London Marathon has raised over 450 million pounds for charity. It also has a place in the Guinness Book of World Record as the largest fund raising event held annually. In 2009 the participants raised over 47.2 million pounds.
The first time the London Marathon was held more than 20,000 people applied to run the marathon. Only 6,747 people were accepted to run and about 6,255 people were able to finish the cross line at Constitution Hill. Since then the popularity of the marathon has grown steadily. As of 2009, it was recorded that 746,635 people were able to finish the race since it started.
The total span of the course for the London Marathon is 42.195 kilometers i.e. 26 miles, 385 yards. The course for the marathon starts at three separate places:
• The “Red Start” which is in southern Greenwich Park on the Charlton Way
• The “Green Start” at St. John’s Park
• The “Blue Start” which is on the Shooter’s Hill Road
These three courses then converge in Woolwich, which is close to Royal Artillery Barracks, after 4.5 kilometers. At the 10 kilometer mark (6.2 miles), the participants pass by the Old Royal Navy College. Then they heads towards the Cutty Sark drydocked which is in Greenwhich. Then the runners head towards Deptford and then Surrey Quays in Docklands. Competitors then run along Jamaica road. Just before reaching the half way mark, the runners pass by the Tower Bridge. Then they run towards east along The Highway, heading up toward Limehouse, then into Madchute via Westferry road which is in the Isle of Dogs. The next point is Canary Wharf, from where the participants race towards west down to High Street and then back on The Highway. Then they pass on Lower Thames Street followed by upper Thames Street. After this the final leg of the race starts in which the runners pass by the famous Tower of London, followed by Birdcage Walk. In the final 352 meters (or 385 yards) the runners are able to catch the sight of Big Ben and the famous Buckingham Palace and then they finish at The Mall which is alongside the St. James Palace. It should also be mentioned here that the final leg of the London Marathon was also a part of Marathon Course at the 2012 Olympics.
Another remarkable event happened at the 1981 Men’s Elite Race at the London Marathon, in which American runner Dick Beardsley and the Norwegian runner Inge Simonsen crossed the finish line holding each other’s hand. Both of them were declared the winner. Women’s Elite Race also started in 1981 and was won by Joyce Smith of Britain. The first wheelchair races at the London Marathon were held in 1983. It’s organiser was British Sports Association for the Disabled (BASD). IN that event 19 people were able to compete and 17 crossed the finish line. Gordon Perry from US won the Men’s Wheelchair Race while the women’s Wheelchair Race was won by Denise Smith from UK. During the London Marathon four world records for marathons have also been set.
The London Marathon also attract a lot of amateurs. Most of them wear fancy dresses for charity. In the 2003 London Marathon, boxer Michael Watson competed. He was told that he will never be able to walk again in his life after he suffered injuries in a fight. He was able to complete the marathon is six days.
The London Marathon is for sure quite a famous event in the UK. It has attracted many big sponsors from time to time during its history. It is also appraised for the fundraising for various non-profit organisations and helping in numerous good causes. In short the marathon has been quite successful and has a unique place in the history of World Marathon Majors and London itself.