37,500 take on London Marathon challenge
Around 37,500 runners and amateur athletes endeavoured to finish 26-mile course in bright sunshine today and earn their medals for the 32nd London Marathon.
The 26.2 mile marathon began in Greenwich at 9am; the racing route took in stunning spots such as Tower Bridge, passed through Canary Wharf and finished at St. James’s Park near Westminster. Before the race started, Prince Harry posed for photographs with volunteers from Barnet & District Athletics Club.
Two Kenyans, Mary Keitany and Wilson Kipsang, won the women’s and men’s London Marathon 2012 respectively, as the East African country once again dominated the race. Long-distance runner Keitany, who became the third-fastest woman in the marathon, achieved her personal best and the Kenyan record, winning the race in two hours, 18 minutes and 37 seconds. Meanwhile, Kipsang, dubbed “the second-fastest man in the world over the distance”, won the race in two hours, four minutes and 44 seconds.
The 30-year-old Keitany told Reuters: “I’m pleased with my run today and the time was OK. The weather here all week has not been good but when I saw the sunshine this morning, I knew the weather would be right for me.”
James Cracknell, a double Olympic gold medal-winner with the British rowing team, revealed to the BBC: “I’m running for the Children’s Trust, which helps children with brain injuries and provides support for their families.”
While most participants appeared dedicated purely to their performance, many donned elaborate costumes for the race, giving us the first glimpse of sportsman-like spirit in the run-up to the Olympics.
David Stone, 42, dressed as Count Dracula, broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon run dressed as a character from a book [with fitting timing, given that Friday marked the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death – Ed]. Stone completed his run in two hours, 42 minutes, smashing his record of three hours, two minutes last year, when he was dressed as Superman.
Also in the race were Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, chef Gordon Ramsay, model Nell McAndrew and newsreader Sophie Raworth.
Two of Britain’s leading racers David Weir and Shelly Woods won the wheelchair race, spurring on Britain’s Paralympic hopes.