Each year, thousands of people run around London, some wearing costumes you’d struggle to walk down the high street in. Coupled with some truly inspirational stories, it makes for utterly compelling TV
Virgin Money London Marathon, Sunday 28 April, 10am, BBC One HD (CH 101/108). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > BBC iPlayer
The first marathon was created to honour a Greek soldier named Pheidippides who ran 25 miles from a battlefield near the town of Marathon to Athens to humblebrag about the defeat of the Persians (there was no Twitter back then – #RunningGoals). He arrived, delivered the message… and dropped down dead. Since then, millions have taken to the streets to run similar distances, albeit with much more training and without the obligation to deliver war messages.
More than 40,000 runners will line up for the 39th Virgin Money London Marathon. It’s the culmination of thousands of hours: hours spent training in all kinds of weather; fundraising in all kinds of hostile environments; and begging and badgering colleagues, friends and family members to dig deep. This year’s pelt about the capital is set to be another record-breaker. Watch our video below for some truly astonishing marathon stats and information on the charities it helps, and then read on to learn more about the runners involved.
Sir Andy Murray will be the official starter when the race kicks off at 10am, while legendary track athlete Sir Mo Farah will be looking to beat his third-place finish in last year’s race. He’ll be facing some tough competition however, with triple men’s champion and current marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchogein the field. Fellow Kenyan Mary Keitany leads the women’s field, and will be hoping to overcome her compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot, who beat her last term. South African Ernst van Dyk heads the men’s wheelchair field, while Swiss Manuela Schar leads the women’s charge.
Outside the elite pack, a host of celebrity runners will be joining the general public, including EastEnders actors Natalie Cassidy, Adam Woodyatt, Emma Barton, Tanya Franks and Jake Wood (all running for Dementia Revolution), sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher (running for Safe Hands), Mock The Week regular Ed Gamble (running for JDRF), ex-footballer Paul Konchesky (running for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity) and Match Of The Day’s Jonathan Pearce (running for The Lily Foundation).
Also in the running are Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans (running for Dementia Revolution), ex-Rugby League star Jamie Peacock MBE (running for Sue Ryder), The Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown (running for Dementia Revolution), Heart FM’s Jenni Falconer (running for The Children’s Trust), TV presenter Helen Skelton (running for Prostate Cancer UK), The Apprentice winner Mark Wright (running for Dementia Revolution) and BBC Radio 1’s Cel Spellman (running for WWF).
It’s sure to be one hell of a race, and you can follow all the action, tears, triumphs and torn ligaments live on BBC One.
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