London Marathon: 25 reasons to celebrate the London Marathon

Capital race reaches landmark

1 Guiding runners on the course with a blue line was a good idea. Using paint which could be steam-cleaned as soon as the last runner had staggered along it was an even better one.

1 Guiding runners on the course with a blue line was a good idea. Using paint which could be steam-cleaned as soon as the last runner had staggered along it was an even better one.

2 Almost a quarter of a billion pounds has been generated for charity by the event. The largest single amount raised by an individual was £1.18m by the London Marathon director, John Spurling, in 1999.

3 In 1981, the world became acquainted with the running waiter. Roger Bourban, a Swiss-born restaurant worker, completed the course inside three hours wearing a dinner jacket and carrying a bottle and glass on a tray. By the time of his next marathon effort, Bourban had acquired two agents and a manager to deal with requests by companies to supply the water with which he would celebrate his arrival at the finish line.

4 More than a ton of petroleum jelly has been rubbed over the years on to groins, nipples and toes.

5 In 2002, Paula Radcliffe used the race to consolidate her transformation from gallant trier to world's finest female distance runner. She ran 2hr 18min 56sec in her marathon debut, the fastest-ever time in a women's only race. The following year she set the current world record, 2hr 15min 25sec, more than three minutes faster than any other woman has managed.

6 The event offers drinkers at the 76 pubs which line the route an annual opportunity to consider the relative joys and sacrifices of running before deciding against it and returning to their lager.

7 The inaugural event in 1981 gave Dick Beardsley, of the United States, and Inge Simonsen, of Sweden, the opportunity of demonstrating the fellowship of sport by crossing the line together holding hands. Some while later, Dave Bedford, Britain's former world 10,000 metres record holder, reached the finish having decided to enter the race at 2am after an evening's frivolity in his Luton nightclub. Having entered the race for a £250 bet his preparation consisted of switching from beer to pina coladas and then going out for a curry. "I was steaming," he recalled. "I finished in 3hr 45min, and it took me 45 minutes to complete the last three miles." Bedford warmed to the event, however, later becoming its race director.

8 In 2002, fireman Lloyd Scott, in the spirit of Roger Bourban, decided it was appropriate to run wearing a full diver's outfit, including a heavy, domed helmet and weighted boots. It took him five days.

9 The London marathon has persuaded 540,000 people to run a total of 14,148,000 miles - the equivalent of 30 return visits to the moon.

10 In 2003, the London race brought the wondrous benefits of emu oil to wider notice. When her preparations were disrupted by an unscheduled collision with a girl on a bicycle while training in Albuquerque, Paula Radcliffe's aches and pains and scrapes were healed with the help of the elixir recommended by her friend Sonia O'Sullivan, the Irish athlete who had used it to good effect while running in Australia. It worked for Paula too, as she set her current world record. The substance has now passed down to the general populace. This year Mark Hazlehurst, a Nene Valley Harrier, has let it be known that he is treating a stubborn calf injury with the oil that helped smooth the troubled waters for Paula.

11 For the sixth time, the London marathon will shut celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay up for a few precious hours.

12 This is an event which persuades people to go to extraordinary lengths. Jane Tomlinson took to the route shortly after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Three years ago the former boxer Michael Watson, who has only recovered partial movement after being put in a coma following his bout with Nigel Benn, showed great courage to complete the course - it took him six days. Among this year's competitors are Stuart Murray, a 29-year-old from Aberdeen who was told by doctors that he would be paralysed after breaking his neck and back in a fall, and 21-year-old Clare Forbes, who had both legs amputated six years ago after contracting meningitis.

13 Organisers estimate that over 439,000 pints of urine have disappeared into the 950 toilets and 130m-long urinal trough provided.

14 In 1985, Steve Jones needed a toilet break in the closing stages. He made up the 100 metres he had lost on fellow Briton Charlie Spedding and won in a then course record of 2hr 8min 16sec.

15 1993 saw the last London victory by a British man - Eamonn Martin, a 34-year-old engineer from Dunton. The win completed an eventful week for the former Commonwealth 10,000m champion. His wife had given birth to Eamonn Jnr three days earlier.

16 Tracey Morris, a 36-year-old optician from Leeds, became the unlikely media darling of last year's race, having knocked more than an hour off her personal best to finish as leading British woman and earn an Olympic place in only her second marathon. More than two hours after she finished, her husband, Paul, crossed the line in 4hr 45min.

17 There are 29 men who have the distinction of being able to say: "I have run every London marathon since 1981."

18 In the closest of London finishes, Britain's defending champion, Liz McColgan, was passed in the last few paces of the 1997 race by Kenya's Joyce Chepchumba. The margin was one second.

19 Antonio Pinto, winner of the event in 1992, 1997 and 2000, admitted to drinking four bottles of wine a week. "Sometimes I drink more," he added.

20 Age is no barrier for London marathon runners - unless they are younger than 18. Last year, 93-year-old Fauja Singh finished in 6hr 7min 13sec - and won the over-90 category.

21 The London marathon appears to cater supremely well for the thirtysomethings. Entrants between 30-39 far surpass any other age category.

22 Accountants, unaccountably, love the London marathon, with 1,614 entries tomorrow. Teachers, however, love it even more - 2,211 are taking part.

23 Despite his name, Matthew Parris grew to love London best. From 1981 to 1985, the man who now writes newspaper columns was the fastest MP in the capital, finishing in 2hr 32min 57sec.

24 The London event has done wonders for the profiles of the humble bin-liner, recommended as pre-race garb. Runners also sport a nice line in heat-conserving tinfoil at the finish.

25 Over the years, this event has given credence to the vision of its originator, Chris Brasher, who mused after witnessing the mass-participation New York marathon: "To believe this story, you must believe that the human race be one joyous family, working together, laughing together, achieving the impossible."

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game