On Sunday 23 April, more than 30,000 people participated in the 2017 London Marathon, running 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometres) around the city centre.
The London Marathon has taken place every year since 1981, making this year’s the 37th race. At the first one just 6,225 people completed the course, and since then it has grown into one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It is one of the ‘World Marathon Majors’, which is a competition made up of six global marathon events. The overall male and female winners receive $1 million in prize money between them. There are currently eleven people who have run every London Marathon since it began – they call themselves the ‘Ever Presents’.
This year, the winners of the London Marathon were both from Kenya — Daniel Wanjiru, who finished in 2 hours and 5 minutes, and Mary Keitany, whose time was 2 hours and 17 minutes. In the wheelchair race, David Weir from the UK and Swiss athlete Manuela Schär were the champions.
However, most marathon runners are not professional athletes. They are amateurs who have trained for months to raise money for charity or just as a personal challenge. Many people choose to do fun things to make them stand out, like wear silly costumes or do things instead of just running. For example, Tom Harrison took three days just to reach the run’s halfway point, as he is crawling the course on his hands and knees dressed as a gorilla, trying to raise money and attention for the charity ‘The Gorilla Organisation’.
Another highlight from this year’s race is the story of Jackie Scully and Duncan Sloan, who got married on the morning of the marathon. They both then ran the race, with Jackie doing it in her wedding dress! They were running to raise money for cancer charities, as Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago.
Matthew Rees was another runner to inspire people, as he stopped just before the finish line to help David Wyeth run the last 200m. They did not know each other before, but Matthew saw that David was exhausted and possibly close to collapsing, and wanted to help him finish.
Every year there are lots of inspiring stories like this from the London Marathon, and it is a huge achievement even to run the 26.2 miles!