The city of London got its first marathon in 1981, after former Olympic champion Chris Brasher returned from the New York Marathon wanting to make the same event happen in his home town. This year, the popular marathon will be held on April 25th, 2010.
London is the city where the current 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 42.195 km 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. You can find more about the history of the London marathon at the marathon website.
The course of the London Marathon runs along the River Thames and is fast and flat. The marathoners will pass a number of famous London landmarks, including the Tower of London, the London Eye and the 140-year-old clipper ship, Cutty Sark. Organizers describe it as ‘An Historical Jog Around London’, due to the speed and scenery of the course.
The London Marathon is part of the series World Marathon Majors along with the marathons in Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York, in which the athletes earn points according to their finish place in the participating races. Last year, more than 24,000 runners finished the race.
Fundraising plays a big role in London Marathon, and organizers claim it to be the largest annual fundraising event in the world. Since its start in 1981, the participants have raised a total of GBP 315 million for charity. Further information about the race and registration can be found at the official London Marathon site.
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