|It's a long way to the finish line
This weekend, around 35,000 runners filled the streets of London, running the 26thannualLondon Marathon. The course is 26.2 miles long (42 km), and goes past many of London’s landmarks, such as the Tower of London, the famous 19th century ship Cutty Sark, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. The runners actually run over Tower Bridge.
Among theelite athletesrunning, Britain’s Paula Radcliffe was unableto defend her titlefrom last year’s race due to an injury. The women’s race was won by American Deena Kastor in 2 hours 19 minutes, and Felix Limo from Kenya won the men’s race in 2 hours 6 minutes.
However, Britain still madea good showing, as British woman Mara Yamauchicame insixth, whilst in the wheelchair marathon, Britain’s athletesexcelled. Shelly Woods came second in the women’s race, and David Weir not only won the men’s race for the second time, but also set a new record of 1hour 29 minutes.
But in the London Marathon, everyone who finishes is a winner – for many thousands of people theirgoalwas merely to complete the race and gain their finisher’s medal. The oldest competitor was 88 years old and the youngest just 18. About 80% of the ‘fun runners’ – those not competing professionally – were running the race toraise moneyfor their chosen charity, and it is estimated that this yeargood causeswill receive more than ￡35 million.
Some of the athletes ran or walked infancy dress, ranging from monkey suits to fairies, clowns and superheroes. One couple chose to get married half-way round the race, and ran in traditional wedding attire – a full length white dress for thebride, and for thegroom, a top hat and tails.
The event is very popular with spectators, and around 400,000 people braved London’s drizzle to cheer on the runners and give them encouragement by cheering, waving flags and balloons and blowing whistles.
A challenging but fulfilling day for the runners, and an inspiring and exciting event for spectators too.