The London Marathon was born in 1981 but before it another marathon had been taking place on a yearly basis since 1909 – did you know that? It was called Polytechnic Marathon, often referred to as the Poly, and it was Europe’s oldest regular marathon. It used to start in the Windsor and end in West London until its decline when due to the traffic it was restricted in its last few years to the Windsor area. Finally, the introduction and growing popularity of mass marathons and big money events brought this event to an end in the nineties.
The London Marathon was founded in 1981 by an Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley, following their participation in the New York City Marathon in 1979. They were inspired by the people of New York coming together for this occasion and they wanted to create a similar event in London
It is a massive event: it is not just a professional race for long-distance runners, it is also an elite event for wheelchair athletes and a mass race for thousands of amateur runners. There is also a mini marathon held for under 17 years old runners.
For those who are not familiar with the event, the marathon is run over a mostly flat course 26 miles long (around 42 km) around the River Thames, passing by some of the main London landmarks.
One of the main aspects of this event is its charity trait, with participants raising millions of pounds every year for charities (adding up to over a £ billion since its founding).
Last year, due to the pandemic, the 40th race did not take place in April as usual but in the Autumn for the very first time. It had to be an elite-only race and its course consisted of 19 laps of length of 1.34 mi (2.15 km) around St James’s Park, followed by 1,345 metres The Mall, following the finish line of the traditional London Marathon course. No public was allowed in the nearby area to keep it safe. However, at the same time, it was also held as the very first virtual Virgin Money London Marathon, when more than 37,000 runners, from all corners of the world, completed the event.
This year the event will take place again in October (on the 3rd) allowing 100’000 people to take part: while 50 thousand people will be able to run around the city of London in the traditional mass-participation Virgin Money London Marathon, other 50 thousand people will be able to run again the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon from anywhere in the world, as long as they complete the run between 0:00 am to 11:59 pm BST.
Why am I telling you all this? Our Sansar has got for the first time a few places at the virtual marathon! Woohoop! If you would like to run for us please get in touch ASAP: we would love to hear from you! You will of course get your official t-shirt and medal as well!
In case you are not too keen on running long distances, but you still fancy fundraising for us, click here!