London Marathon: when was the first race held?
Fortunately, runners who entered last year’s event secured places for the 2021 marathon, which is 26.2 miles in length.
The course will see participants hammering the pavement on a route around town that takes them past landmarks such as Cutty Sark, The Shard, Canary Wharf and Buckingham Palace.
Over the years it has gradually grown into the world’s most popular running event and, while it was canceled, nearly half a million (457,861) runners applied for the 2020 race. .
And, this year marks a very special anniversary for the London Marathon, so read on to find out when the city’s famous race started.
When did the first London Marathon take place?
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event as the first took place on March 29, 1981.
He was inspired by the New York City Marathon, which started over a decade earlier in 1970.
Olympians Chris Brasher and John Disley founded the event, after Chris ran the New York Marathon in 1979 and wondered if a British version would be achievable.
Turns out it was, and demand was also high with 20,000 runners applying to participate.
A true sportsman, Chris Brasher won the Olympic gold medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 1956. By this point he had already led two Arctic expeditions – all before he was 22 years old.
Years later he turned to journalism, presenting the BBC’s Tonight program and serving as sports editor at The Observer. Sadly, he passed away on February 28, 2003, at the age of 75.
Olympic competitor John Disley represented Great Britain in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the 1952 games where he won a bronze medal. He passed away at the age of 87 on February 17, 2016. Like Chris, he enjoyed rock climbing, orienteering, hiking and, of course, running.
A total of 7,745 people took part in the first race and a total of 6,255 of these runners made it through the finish line.
What was the route of the first London Marathon and has it changed?
The first London Marathon started in Blackheath and ended near Buckingham Palace. So overall the route hasn’t changed much at all.
The main changes were made to the finish line, which was originally at Constitution Hill, before moving to Westminster Bridge in 1982 where it remained for 12 years.
He then moved to the mall, and that’s always where the race ends. However, spectators were encouraged to watch from home this year.
Who won the first London Marathon?
Despite the wet conditions, the riders gave their all and American Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen of Norway both won the race.
They were holding hands as they crossed the finish line in 2:11:48.
The women’s race was also part of the inaugural London Marathon, and Joyce Smith won it in 2:29:57.
The London Marathon record-breaking finish time is over eight minutes faster, at 2:02:37 and was set by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in 2019. The women’s race record was set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003 with a time of 2:15:25.
MORE: Why is a marathon 26.2 miles?
MORE: BBC risks losing London Marathon TV rights to rivals after 40 years of coverage
MORE: 2022 London Marathon Ballot: How to Enter Next Year’s Race
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