London Marathon: An introduction

Rio has its Carnival, Munich has Oktoberfest, it’s Edinburgh’s Fringe and Pamplona is famed for the Bull Run: events synonymous and entwined with their locations. The final Sunday in April is London’s turn, Marathon Day, and this time you’re going to take centre stage.

Every year, the London Marathon brings three quarters of a million visitors and residents to its streets to support the 40,000 runners, helping to create the famous atmosphere which has secured London’s position as a World Marathon Major. The event shuts down the capital, is broadcast live on the BBC, attracts the best athletes in the world and raises £50m for charitable causes. 

However, it had much more humble beginnings. In 1979 Chris Brasher and John Disley were inspired by the New York Marathon and planned to bring something similar to London. They secured sponsorship, selected 7,000 runners, crossed their fingers and two years later the very first London Marathon was run. The resulting iconic image of the two winners, Inge Simonsen and Dick Beardsley holding hands across the finish line, perfectly captured the start of something very special. 

Thirty years on, the famous route has become more than just a marathon; it’s the only one with a theme song for starters. Already the largest annual fundraising event in the world, the London Marathon is often a statement: a chance to put yourself through months of training and 26 miles to show your support for a cause. And we’re delighted and honoured you’ve chosen to do this for Marie Curie. 

We know that running London can be a lifetime’s ambition, a cathartic experience and a huge individual yet public challenge. That’s why we’re on hand to support you through it – from here to Blackheath and on to a tired but elated, sweaty hug on The Mall. 

Just don’t ask us to join you in Pamplona….

Print this page