Rarely is there a person who has not heard of the London Marathon as it is one of the biggest events in the world. It steadily holds its place as one of the top five international marathons.
The route consists of approximately 26 miles of a largely flat course. This year the marathon will be held on the 22April 2012 and it will be the 32nd one. Currently sponsored by Virgin Money and known as the Virgin London Marathon.
A bit of history…
The marathon was established in 1981 by the former Olympic champion and sports journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. Both of them had heard a lot about the atmosphere and excitement of the New York Marathon, they decided to try it out themselves and see what makes it so special. During this experience, they saw how wonderful a “city wide marathon” can be – what made it so special was a combination of factors including the unity and camaraderie of the runners, world famous sights and the cheering spectators.
The two co-founders went through great efforts to organise and find the first sponsors of the UK based marathon. A great inspiration for Brasher’s marathon were the New York and Boston marathons, however an event of this magnitude could potentially cause much discomfort to the locals. In order not to disrupt the normal functioning of the city, the marathon’s 26-mile route was carefully planned in cooperation with the city council and the police forces.
Why go through all the trouble?
The aims of Brasher and Disley to host such a monumental global event, which would later take a very important place in the sporting calendar and be hosted by more than 150 channels, were quite a few.
First off, it aimed to improve the status of British marathons by providing a fast course and strong international competitors.
Secondly, it would boost London’s tourism and at the same time raise money for sporting and recreational facilities in the city.
Thirdly, the organisers wanted to show humanity that, occasionally, it could be united.
Last but surely not least, the marathon aimed to be fun for the public and offer a sense of achievement and stress-free moments in this troubled world.
Let’s talk about charity
Nowadays one of the main objectives for thousands of people to participate in the race is to raise money for their favourite charitable cause. This is why the marathon holds such an iconic image as a large number of people compete in it in order to raise money.
It holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest fundraising event. In 2007 about 78% of the runners raised money for multiple charities. Ever since its beginning in 1981, the runners have raised as much as 500 million pounds.
Why not give it a try?
If you feel like doing a good deed and would like to test your running abilities you could try and take part in the marathon. Also if you feel like having a bit of a laugh and want to pop out of the crowd, you can wear a fancy costume and have that special memory (and hopefully pictures 🙂 ) to make you smile someday.
However do not wait too long to book your place, as the marathon is quite popular, which could result in no available places. Just to help you visualise, in 2010 an astonishing 36,550 people crossed the finish line. As the old saying goes – First come, first served 😉
I wish all the participants lots of fun, positive moments and luck in the 2012 London Marathon 🙂