London – The Marathon Timeline
Say the word Marathon and you think of the London Marathon, one of the biggest marathon events in the world. With said Marathon taking place on April 22 2012, this month’s blog looks at the Marathon chronology, or ‘timeline’ as perhaps it should be now known. Also some factoids, our favourite one of which is:
*The fastest time the London Marathon was run in a Father Christmas outfit was 2 hrs, 55mins and 50 seconds* !
The Marathon Timeline:
490 BC: Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, ran from Marathon to Athens (about 25 miles) to inform the Athenians the outcome of the battle with invading Persians. Pheidippides arrived in Athens exhausted, with bleeding feet and fell to the ground dead.
Bit of a gap here.
1896: the first modern Olympic Games held a race of the same length in commemoration of Pheidippides.
1908: the first marathon was run as part of the London Olympics, and organised by the Polytechnic Harriers, the athletics club of the Regent Street Polytechnic in London (now the University of Westminster). In those days, there was no set distance for the marathon; it was just a long race of approximately 25 miles (post Pheidippides). The Polytechnic Harriers then decided to start the Olympic marathon in front of the Royal apartments at Windsor Castle and end it on the track at White City Stadium in front of the Royal Box, a distance that turned out to be 26 miles, 385 yards, which is why the marathon is a strange and somewhat random length. Bet you didn’t know that!
1909: After a lot of public interest in the Olympic Marathon, The Sporting Life newspaper offered a trophy for an annual international marathon that would be second in importance only to the Olympic event itself. The Polytechnic Harriers were again asked to organise the event, and the Polytechnic Marathon was born and organised every year from then on, along various routes.
1981: The first official ‘London Marathon’ was run by 7,590 people, after organisers received over 20,000 applicants. American Dick Beardsley and Norwegian Inge Simonsen were first over the line.
1985: Matthew Paris ran the fastest time for an MP, finishing in 2hr 32min.
1996: The hottest temperatures for race day were recorded, with runners competing in 22C heat.
2002: Lloyd Scott competed in the 2002 London marathon wearing a 110 lb deep-sea diving suit. It took him five days and eight hours to complete the course, breaking the world record for the slowest marathon time. The suit is now in a glass case at the Greenwich Maritime Museum
2003: Paula Radcliffe broke the women's world record, finishing in 2:15:25.
2004: All the Kenyans: Evans Rutto and Margaret Okayo won the men and women's titles.
2005: Paula Radcliffe stopped for a loo break but still managed an amazing time of 2:17:42.
2006: Runners Katie Austin and Gordon Frye got married during the race on Tower Bridge.
2008: Buster Martin, 101, became the oldest runner to complete the race, but the Guinness World Records disputed his age. His first words past the finish line were apparently "Where's my beer?"
2010: 100Ibs of Vaseline, 200 bottles of baby oil and 2000 plasters were made available to runners.
Inspiring stuff. For more information go to the London Marathon website and if you’re running this year, Father Christmas outfit or not, the best of British luck to you.