First London Marathon
The London Marathon was inspired by the New York Marathon which Olympic medallists Chris Brasher and John Disley ran in 1979. They had been taken by the communality of the experience and the camaraderie, but also by the desire to show London at its best and to prove that Great Britain was capable of hosting major sporting events.
Only 6747 people ran in the first London Marathon on March 29 1981 (6255 finishing), the numbers restricted because of police worries about controlling the event, safety, and the logistical problems associated with crowds over the 26 mile circuit. These days the race sees more than 30,000 entrants.
Although it is certainly one of the great competitive marathons for elite athletes, more importantly in the eyes of most it is now the single biggest charity fund-raising event in the world; and for London it is a massive advert to attract visitors to the capital, showcasing sights like the Thames , the London Eye , St Paul’s Cathedral , the Cutty Sark , and even Big Ben . And showcasing too some great British eccentricity, as runners dressed as pandas, divers, gorillas and other weird and wonderful things jog the course to raise millions for good causes.
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