Record number of runners take part in London Marathon

Record number of runners take part in London Marathon
Masses of runners leaving the start of the TCS London Marathon (Zac Goodwin/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Zac Goodwin

A record number of people are taking part in the London Marathon in what has been billed as its most inclusive year yet.

More than 50,000 people are running the 26.2-mile course through the capital on what is a dry and bright day with highs of 12C expected.

Runners of all ages aiming to complete the route for charity poured through the start line from 10am on Sunday, some in costumes.

TCS London Marathon 2024‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook leaves the start of the London Marathon (Zac Goodwin/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Zac Goodwin

Famous faces taking part include comedian and TV presenter Romesh Ranganathan, who is running for suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably the day after starting his new Radio 2 Saturday morning show.

Fellow comedian Joel Dommett is running in the Piranha costume first worn by this year’s Masked Singer winner, McFly’s Danny Jones.

“Hardest Geezer” Russ Cook, who finished running the entire length of Africa on April 7, is running in support of the Running Charity.

Also among the runners are 20 MPs and peers, the most in the event’s history, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

In the elite races, Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir, from Kenya, beat the women’s-only world record to win in two hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds.

The men’s race was won by fellow Kenyan Alexander Munyao in two hours and four minutes, ahead of 41-year-old track great Kenenisa Bekele.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won the men’s wheelchair race for the fourth year in a row, with a time of one hour, 28 minutes and 38 seconds, while Catherine Debrunner, also Swiss, won the women’s wheelchair race with a time of one hour, 38 minutes and 52 seconds.

TCS London Marathon 2024Catherine Debrunner after winning the women’s wheelchair race during the TCS London Marathon (John Walton/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - John Walton

This year’s race is the first time that wheelchair and non-disabled athletes have received the same prize money for a marathon.

All four winners of the elite races will receive £44,000, with the runner-up receiving £24,000 and third place £18,000.

Britain’s David Weir, who came in third place, previously said he had not expected the change to happen in his lifetime.

Event director Hugh Brasher said the event will be “more inclusive than before” with support for more than 200 disabled participants as well as a faith space and a quiet space for neurodivergent participants in the finish area.

There are female urinals, sanitary products available for anyone who needs them, and a family support area which includes a private breastfeeding area.

There were 30 seconds of applause before the race in memory of last year’s elite men’s race winner Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a car accident in February at the age of 24.

Masses crossing Tower Bridge during the TCS London MarathonMasses crossing Tower Bridge during the TCS London Marathon (Aaron Chown/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Aaron Chown

He set a new London Marathon record of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds last year with his third win, and set a new world record of two hours and 35 seconds in Chicago in October.

The 2023 marathon, the world’s biggest annual one-day fundraising event, raised £63 million for thousands of charities.

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