Thousands set off on London Marathon

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Tens of thousands of runners set off in good conditions as the London Marathon got under way today.

Up to 36,500 athletes are expected to finish the 26.2-mile course after pounding through the streets of the capital to earn their marathon medals and raise money for countless charities.

As well as the elite athletes and fun runners, a host of celebrities crossed the start line in support of good causes.

Glamour model Nell McAndrew is an experienced marathon runner for Cancer Research UK with a personal best of three hours and ten minutes.

"It's just such an incredible day. I feel really lucky to have a place to experience the London Marathon again," she told the BBC.

Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell suffered serious brain damage when he was hit by a truck in a cycling endurance race in America last July.

He said competing in the marathon for brain injury charity Headway was an opportunity to look to the future.

"Today I can draw a whole line under the thing and move on," he said.

His former team-mate Matthew Pinsent, who is raising money for Alzheimer's Society, said he wanted to beat his previous time of four hours and eight minutes.

He said: "That eight minutes has been annoying me. I'm going to have that in my mind as I go around the Docklands today. I just need to get under four (hours), that's my target."

Comedian Joe Pasquale is running for Diabetes UK as several of his close family members have been affected by the disease, including his daughter.

He said he did not have a finish time in mind, and joked that he had "Vaseline in places I can't tell you".

Meanwhile British 400m record holder Iwan Thomas revealed he will treat himself to a new motorbike if he achieves his target time.

"I promised myself if I go under four hours I'm going to buy myself a Harley-Davidson tomorrow morning. So four hours is the target, but I think I can do it if I run smart."

Conditions at the start in Blackheath were overcast and dry, with the temperature at 9C (48F). But forecasters expected that would rise to as high as 19C (66F) by mid-afternoon as the fun-runners complete the course at Buckingham Palace.

Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai set a new course record in winning the men's race with a time of two hours, four minutes and 40 seconds.

He beat the previous best by 30 seconds.

Three-time winner Martin Lel and Patrick Makau made it a clean sweep for Kenya, Lel just edging out his compatriot in a sprint finish.

It was an incredibly successful day for competitors from the east African country, as Mary Keitany claimed a commanding victory in the women's race, clocking a time of two hours 19 minutes and 19 seconds.

She relegated defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia into second, with Kenya's Edna Kiplagat in third.

Britain's Jo Pavey enjoyed an excellent marathon debut, finishing 19th in 2:28.23.

In the wheelchair race home favourite David Weir claimed an unprecedented fifth title with a perfectly timed sprint finish.

Weir waited until he was within sight of the finish on The Mall before powering past Switzerland's Heinz Frei to become the most successful wheelchair athlete in the event's history.

In the women's race, Shelly Woods came within centimetres of making it a British double when she was pipped on the line by American Amanda McGrory.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower