The record-breaking feats of Mary Keitany and David Weir weren’t the only records smashed at a memorable Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday (23 April). After a record number of runners crossed the start line of the marathon, more than 39,400 completed the gruelling 26.2-mile journey from Blackheath to Westminster, making the 37th edition of the race the biggest in its history by 347 runners.
Of the 39,487 who crossed the finish line in The Mall, one established two new world records, one broke a course record, one took a record-breaking seventh London win and 39 broke Guinness World Records. A wide range of new records were set over the course of another fantastic event, from the wheelchair race to the Mini-Marathon, all the way through to those clocking the fastest times dressed as a toilet roll!!
Switzerland’s Manuela Schär took her first London title in the women’s wheelchair race, making it fourth time lucky after finishing second at the previous three editions of the event. Her win was worth the wait as she smashed the course record in 1:39:57, more than one minute faster than Tatyana McFadden’s 2014 time of 1:41:14.
Before the elites came the Minis, as crowds around the finish line witnessed three course records in the Mini London Marathon with Josh Dickinson, Charlotte Alexander and Naomi Toft setting best ever times over the three-mile course.
In an event that has seen the likes of Mo Farah, David Weir and Non Stanford win in the past, it was Dickinson of Yorkshire and Humberside who caught the eye. He broke the under-15 boys’ record set by Josh Cowperthwaite in 2016 by one second, with a time of 14:47 as he finished ahead of Charlie Brisley and Abdi Hasan.
Then came the masses; a record field of 40,048 runners sent on their way by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The royal trio started the race, following Olympic champion rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning who performed starter duties for the elite women and para-athletes.
Glover then ran one of the fastest times by a celebrity as she completed the course in a stunning 3:05:25, with Stanning finishing in 3:32:46.
Chrissie Wellington was the quickest woman of all on the celebrity list – the four-time Ironman World Champion clocking 2:49:01. James Cracknell was the fastest celebrity, setting a personal best of 2:43:12.
Steve Edwards from the Cotswold town of Moreton-in-Marsh became the first person in the world to run 700 official sub-3:30:00 marathons. The 54-year-old who runs for North Cotswold Tri & Run finished the race in a time of 3:14:40.
The marathon’s oldest runner, the ever-present 83-year-old Ken Jones, completed his 37th consecutive London Marathon in 6:41:39.
Jackie Scully and Duncan Sloan, who tied the knot just hours before the event got underway, spent their first few hours of married life apart as groom Duncan finished in 3:27:59, while bride Jackie crossed the line in 5:56:26.
It was London man Joe Spraggins who was fastest Guinness World Record-breaker of all. He clocked 2:42:24 to complete the fastest marathon dressed as a swimmer. In his wake came elves, Vikings, chilli peppers and monks, while records fell for toilet rolls, nuns, Wellington boots and Banana Man.
And they say that the good guys never win…