London Marathon record

This year's London Marathon will be the biggest in the event's 16-year history. A record number of entries - 39,000 - have been accepted for the race on 21 April, of whom an estimated 27,000 are expected to finish.

The event is now at its limits in terms of participants, according to Alan Storey, the event's general manager.

"Taking the course into account - Cable Street, for instance, is only 13 feet wide - we are up to our maximum level as far as safety is concerned. Next year we will probably get an even greater number of entries, but such is the price of success."

Although no participating runners have yet been named, Dave Bedford, the event's international co-ordinator, forecasts a memorable race. "I believe this year's race will be of higher international quality than last year's and that of 1989," he said. "And I think most people agree that those were the best so far in international terms."

Meanwhile Flora, who have secured the event for the next three years, have put in a total of pounds 6m towards their Marathon involvement this year.

There will be a number of new elements in the 1996 race, including a challenge to all professional football clubs north and south of the border to enter teams in club colours on a competitive basis. Over 100 clubs have accepted.

Elite runners, and others selected by the organisers, will have their progress charted through silicon chips worn on their shoelaces which will transmit information every time they cross special mats which will be placed at five-kilometre intervals on the course.

n Chris Maddocks became the second Briton to win pre-selection for this summer's Olympic Games when he was named yesterday for the 50km walk. The 38-year-old, from Dawlish in Devon, will be competing in his fourth Games. The first athlete selected was Vicky Lupton in the women's 10km walk.