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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine