Brasher hails an extraordinary day
Event Director Hugh Brasher described the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon as “an extraordinary day” this morning after record numbers made the 26.2-mile journey across the capital on Sunday.
With the mercury rising to 24°C on Sunday afternoon, it was officially the hottest Race Day on record. But that didn’t prevent some 40,255 runners reaching The Mall by 19:00 yesterday evening, while a further 18 made it home by 20:15 after the London Marathon kept the Finish Line open in light of the unseasonal temperatures.
“It really was an extraordinary day yesterday and showed the true spirit of London,” said Brasher. “Due to the heat, we kept the Finish Line open longer and by seven o’clock, 40,255 people had crossed it. We manually timed another 18 people, so the total number of finishers recorded to date is 40,273. It is an incredible testament to our runners that in 24.1 degree heat only 169 more people dropped out this year compared to last year, when the temperature didn’t rise above 13.9.
“Despite our extensive planning and the provision of more than 4.5 litres of water per runner on the course, a number of water stations ran out of supplies, for which I sincerely apologise.
“We had a contingency supply that was delivered to all stations from mile 17 to 25 and we are incredibly thankful to London Underground, the London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and all our volunteers who helped with the distribution of extra supplies.”
At the front of the field, of course, were the elite winners, not least Kenyan pair Eliud Kipchoge and Vivian Cheruiyot who were crowned London Marathon champions after racing to the line in a combined record time for any marathon of 4:22:48.
“It was an amazing achievement by Eliud and Vivian and they both ran extraordinary races,” said Brasher. “And to see David Weir win an eighth wheelchair title to go with his seven Mini Marathon victories – well this event is about inspiration and we couldn’t have had a greater demonstration of that.
“And it’s great to see Madison de Rozario with her first Abbott World Marathon Majors win. To see new athletes coming through is great for us.
“The performance of Sir Mo Farah was extraordinary too. To be on the podium and in the mix with Eliud was quite incredible at the speed they were running. He’s also someone who came through from the Mini London Marathon, and he beat some great marathon runners.”
It was all watched by huge crowds, not only the thousands basking in the spring sunshine along the course, but millions glued to their TV screens back at home.
“Fifty per cent of people watching TV during the event were watching these athletes and all our runners showing the spirit of London,” Brasher revealed.
“We were very sad to report earlier today the death of the talented chef Matt Campbell, who collapsed at the 22.5-mile mark and, despite receiving immediate medical attention, died later in hospital. He was an experineced marathon runner who completed the Manchester Marathon earlier this month in under three hours. Everyone at the London Marathon sends their sincere condolences to his family and friends. Matt was fundraising for The Brathay Trust.”
Data provided by Virgin Money Giving and Just Giving suggests that runners are on track to beat the current one-day event world record of £61.5 million, set at last year's race.
“Runners such as Stephen’s team, running in memory of Stephen Lawrence, and the Grenfell firefighters, who showed in their togetherness and community spirit something extraordinary,” continued Brasher.
“And we made marathon history too, with Her Majesty The Queen starting the race.”
As for whether his team can raise the bar again next year, Brasher had no doubt. “We have ideas, I promise you,” he said. “We make sure we’re always getting better.
“We have an amazing team of people committed to making this what we believe is the greatest marathon in the world.”