Brasher hails an extraordinary day
Event director Hugh Brasher described the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon as the greatest ever in the event’s 38-year history this morning as he reflected on “an extraordinary day of extraordinary performances put on by an amazing team”.
“Once again London showed how the marathon brings communities together and shows how the family of man can be united, one of the founding pillars of my father, Chris Brasher, and John Disley,” he said.
“I can only reflect on an amazing job – from the athletic performances to the charity fundraising and the amazing sense of community. I think that’s what society needs in these days, and it was perfectly represented by yesterday.
“It’s how London and the crowd embrace this event that makes it so special.”
On a day of so many highlights – from Eliud Kipchoge’s men’s course record to Brigid Kosgei’s flying finish in the women’s race, to the record field of 42,549 finishers and the event’s billion pound fundraising milestone – Brasher found it impossible to pick out one outstanding achievement.
“Whether it was Charlotte Purdue taking four minutes off her PB or Callum Hawkins running a Scottish record,” he said. “Whether it was that incredible men’s race, with a second place finish that would have been a world record eight months ago – the fastest ever second place, the fastest ever third place...
“Whether it was Kipchoge, the majesty in how he performed, or Kosgei running the fastest ever second half of a marathon.
“And Daniel Romanchuk destroying the men’s wheelchair field in the Flying 400 by 2.3 seconds – truly outstanding. Then Manuela Schär – I can’t remember the last time a female wheelchair racer has won here by five minutes.
“It’s the charity piece, it’s the everyday stories, it’s [Charity of the Year] Dementia Revolution, and the billion-pound achievement,” he continued, referring to the event’s unique landmark of raising more than £1 billion for charity.
“That’s enormous,” he added. “I’m absolutely certain from the figures we’ve received this morning from Virgin Money Giving that we are again breaking one-day records for fundraising. More than £300,000 was donated as part of a new piece of technology on our app, which is just fantastic.
“And the work we’ve done on sustainability. We want to be world leaders on sustainability in mass-participation events and I absolutely believe that the data we’re collecting will enable us to do that.
“It is just positive story after positive story and I couldn’t be prouder of the team that put on what we like to call the greatest marathon in the world. Yesterday I think we showed why.
“There’s always a great sense of relief of course, especially after getting such record numbers of finishers. The planning that goes into it takes a lot. You really have to look closely at everything.”
As for the future, despite the high of Sunday’s best ever Race Day, Brasher is confident the London Marathon will continue to get better and better.
“The question of how we top it each year has been asked a few times after the last four or five events and we’ve managed to do it each time,” he said.
“We have some amazing plans for 2020 when it will be our 40th race, which is quite a milestone in itself. We’re working with all our partners and stakeholders to deliver something quite special. We have plenty of ideas.”