And London truly deserves to have its own marathon race, as this was the city where the present marathon distance was set. In the 1908 Olympics, King Edward VII wanted the marathon to start in the courtyard of Windsor Castle and end in front of the Royal Box at White City Stadium for the queen to see. This distance was 42.195km as opposed to the original distance of 39.90 km in the first modern Olympics in Athens. The king’s command has been reality ever since.
The first London Marathon appeared in 1981, and the race has been widely popular from the start. Each year almost a million people come to watch the runners from street corners making the event not just a marathon, but also a 42km long street party.
The course of the London Marathon is fast and flat, and basically runs along the River Thames on the south side and then the north side after crossing the river by the famous Tower Bridge. On the way from the start in Greenwich/Blackheath to Buckingham Palace, marathoners will pass a number of famous London landmarks, including Tower of London, London eye and the 140-year-old clipper ship, Cutty Sark.
Fundraising plays a big role in London Marathon, and organisers claim it to be the largest annual fundraising event in the world. Since the beginning in 1981, the participants have raised a total of GBP 315 million for charity. In order to attract more attention – and especially more funds – some of the charity runners dress up in fancy costumes. For example, runners have been seen dressed up as bananas, rhinos and Darth Vader. The London Marathon is along with the marathons in Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York part of the series, World Marathon Majors, in which the athletes earn points according to their finish place in the participating races. The top male and female athletes in the series will split a USD 1 million prize purse. If you wish to join the full marathon in London, UK, registration and further information can be found at the official London Marathon site here.
London Marathon Course
A click here will lead you to an interactive map of the London Marathon.