35 Years of the London Marathon

The 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon, which will take place on the 26th April, will be the 35th edition of the event.

Dick Beardsley of the USA and Inge Simonsen of Norway cross the line together to win the London Marathon with a time of 2:11.48 hours.From the Dysart Arms, where Chris Brasher and John Disley first dreamed up the event in 1978, to the streets of London, the event holds a place as one of the most spectacular sporting events in the world. With over 920,000 runners having crossed the line since it began, the London Marathon has come on leaps and bounds – quite literally – from the place it started in 1981.

In 1981, some 20,000 people wanted to run the event – which was held on 29 March 1981 – and out of the 7,747 who were accepted, 6,255 finished.  On Sunday, it is expected that more than 36,000 people will cross the finish line, over 13,000 of whom will be women, compared to only around 300 in 1981.

No wheelchairs were present at all at the first London Marathon, whereas this year the wheelchair fields will be 70-strong, and around 30 world class para-athletes will compete in six other events.

35 years ago there was no mini London Marathon at all, whereas this year the event, which has seen athletes such as Mo Farah, David Weir and Shelly Woods participate, will see more than 2,000 children take place.

One of the greatest achievements of the London Marathon is the incredible amount of money that is raised by runners for charity each year. Since it began, its runners have raised £716 million for charity, making it officially the largest single annual fundraising event in the world – a Guinness World Record that it has held for 8 years in a row.


About Ian Humphreys