Record numbers to run tomorrow's London Marathon
Record numbers are expected to start the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon tomorrow morning, Sunday 28 April, after more than 43,000 registered for the race over the last four days.
When registration desks at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show at ExCeL London closed at 17:00 today, a total of 43,221 accepted applicants had picked up their Race Packs.
Around 42,750 are predicted to start the race, following last year’s record field of 41,003, meaning the 39th London Marathon is set to become the biggest yet as the event celebrates raising £1 billion for charity through its #ThanksaBillion campaign.
With cool conditions expected on Race Day, more than 42,000 are likely to finish this year, meaning the 2019 event is on track to smash the record figure of 40,273 who completed the race in hot conditions 12 months ago.
The elite men’s and mass races will begin when tennis superstar Sir Andy Murray pushes the start button on Shooters Hill Road in Blackheath at 10:10.
Murray will follow his former coach, Amélie Mauresmo, on to the starters’ podium once the trailblazing women’s tennis star has set the world’s best elite wheelchair racers on their way at 09:05, followed five minutes later by more than 80 of the world’s top para-athletes competing for their countries in the other three races of the World Para Athletics Marathon Championships.
The world’s best women marathon runners set off at 09:25 – a race also started by Mauresmo, who will then join the masses to tackle her first London Marathon in pursuit of a personal best.
Among those competing for the prized London crown will be Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, who is seeking a record fourth title against Britain’s multi-medalled distance star, Sir Mo Farah, and a cohort of fast, young Ethiopians, including last year’s runner-up, Shura Kitata.
In the women’s race, defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot takes on three-time winner Mary Keitany and compatriots Gladys Cherono and Brigid Kosgei. A fourth victory for Keitany would equal Ingrid Kristiansen’s record, but all four Kenyans have won Abbott World Marathon Majors races in the past 12 months.
Reigning champions David Weir and Madison de Rozario will defend their crowns in the wheelchair races with Weir chasing a ninth title in his 20th London Marathon contest. Weir will have to contend with two-time winner Marcel Hug and USA’s new star, Daniel Romanchuk.
Swiss para-athlete Manuela Schär is seeking a clean sweep of Abbott World Marathon Majors races as she seeks to regain the crown she took with a course record in 2017.
The elites will be followed by thousands of club athletes, fun runners, charity fundraisers, celebrities, politicians and fancy-dress costume wearers. Among them will be 16 Members of Parliament, eight stars of TV soap EastEnders running for Charity of the Year Dementia Revolution, and more than 90 people dressed in all sorts of weird and wonderful outfits as they strive to break more than 80 Guinness World Records.
Thousands of mass runners will take advantage of the London Marathon’s pioneering sustainability measures, many of them downing their all-important drinks through sustainable cups and hundreds trialling innovative bottle belts and reusable capes.
First under the famous finish gantry in The Mall will be the best young runners and para-athletes in the country competing for honours in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon, which will be started at 08:40 by British 10,000m champion and former Mini London Marathon runner, Alex Yee.