Things you probably didn’t know about the London Marathon

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The world-famous London Marathon was back this year after missing last year due to the pandemic. It was wonderful to see all the racers back, having spent lockdown training hard to give it their all. Here are some amazing facts about this global event that you might not know:

  • The very first marathon in London took place in March 1981 so this year’s event marked the London Marathon’s 40th anniversary. This first race had just over 7,000 participants, of whom more than 6,000 completed the 26.2 mile event.
  • Since that first event, over 1.1 million participants have successfully completed the course.
  • In 2019, almost 43,000 people started the race and only around 400 didn’t manage to finish.

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  • The first event in 1981 attracted 20,000 applications, whereas the most recent received a whopping 457,000 applications. That’s how much its popularity has grown in the 40 years since its inception.
  • The London Marathon holds its very own record in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest fundraising event to occur anywhere in the world. It set this record in 2007 and has broken it every year since then!
  • The hottest temperature experienced so far by participants occurred in 2018 when it was a balmy 24.2 degrees Celsius. The coldest and wettest event occurred in 2004 when it was a measly 5.3 degrees and 12mm of rain fell during the race. Events of this size have carefully managed medical response teams. If you require information about Event First Aid Cover, go to a site like Outdoor Medical Solutions
  • The wheelchair race was first staged in 1983.
  • Since 2010, the event has been sponsored by Virgin Money.
  • The patron of The London Marathon Charitable Trust is an honour held by the Duke of Sussex.
  • The first company to sponsor the race was Gillette.
  • The race used to end on Westminster Bridge and did so between 1983 and 1994. The finish line was moved after this due to construction work starting on the bridge.
  • Some couples have tied the knot part way round the course! It can’t be easy running in a wedding dress!
  • The oldest participant to ever finish the race was Jenny Wood-Allen who was 90 when she took part in 2002. Now that’s impressive!
  • Believe it or not, data suggests that the fastest runners and best times are achieved by those in the 35-44 age group. The next fastest group is the 45-54 which proves that experience is key, not just youthfulness!

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  • Participants have tried to set their own Guinness World Records during the 40 years the event has been taking place. There have been more than 100 attempts, including the fastest race carrying a household appliance and fastest time dressed as a plant!
  • There is a group of runners known as the ‘Ever Presents’ who have competed in every race since 1981. There are now 12 of them left participating.

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