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The London Marathon is a popular road marathon that has been held each year in London since 1981, usually in April. The race is currently sponsored by Flora, as the Flora London Marathon.
The London Marathon was founded by former Olympic champion and renowned journalist Chris Brasher, who was influenced by the New Marathon. He aspired to establish a race of this scale. In the 1908 Summer Olympics, which were held in London, the length of the course had been 26 miles and 385 yards to the White City Stadium, thus setting the standard length of modern marathons ever since.
2004 Margaret Okayo
2005 Paula Radcliffe
2006 Deena Kastor
2007 Gete Wami
2008 Irina Mikitenko
All Runners must be over 18 to enter and must be fit and well on race day. The course starts in three separate points around Blackheath at 115ft above sea level, on the south of the Thames. All the runners eventually converging in Woolwich where the Royal Artillery Barracks is passed, the route descending from 140ft to 35ft over a distance of half a mile.
The first London Marathon was held on 29 March 1981, when nearly 7,500 athletes participated in the race. The Marathon's popularity has steadily grown since then. In 2007 36,396 people started the marathon, the biggest field since the race began. As many as 125,000 people originally applied to run, and 49,963 applications were accepted.
The race is currently organised by former 10,000m world record holder David Bedfort. Bedford has overseen a period of great change for the race, including amendments to the course in 2005 which saw the famous cobbled section by the Tower of London replaced with a flat stretch along the Highway.
At approximately 6 ½ miles runners go around the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Then the course goes through Surrey Quays, Bermondsey and along Jamaica Road before reaching Tower Bridge at around 12 miles. The runners then cross the Thames, turning east along The Highway through Wapping to the Isle of Dogs, before returning back along The Highway passing the Tower of London at 22 ½ miles.
The London Marathon was founded by former Olympic champion and renowned journalist Chris Brasher, who was influenced by the New York Marathon. He aspired to establish a race of this scale. In the 1908 Summer Olympics, which were held in London, the length of the course had been 26 miles and 385 yards to the White City Stadium, thus setting the standard length of modern marathons ever since.
It is the only Marathon course in the world that is run in two hemispheres, both the East and West, as the full course crosses the Prime Meridian in Greenwich.