The London Marathon is upon us. Sunday 22 April will bring 26.2 miles of equal parts grit and beauty, strength and finesse, endurance and grace
The Virgin Money London Marathon, has been run annually since 1981 in the capital, with the course running largely parallel to the River Thames and finishes alongside St. James’ Park. The race is divided into four categories: the elite runners and wheelchair races for both men and women. Tens of thousands of runners will have to run alongside London’s most recognisable landmarks, 84 pubs, and the faces of tens of thousands of spectators.
For us at London Sport, the inspiration hits close to home. Our own Project Support Intern, Alice Liddle, and Disability Development Officer, Josef Baines, both running in the marathon this year for the first time.
Josef said: “The training I have had in preparation for the marathon has been quite a journey. It was not a smooth ride and there were plenty of challenges thrown in along the way, such as knee injuries, family life, house move and learning how to run effectively whilst managing energy for the long, hard run. Every time I go out for a run, whatever the distance, it is always a joy because of the feel-good factor it always brings. As I have done two half-marathons this year, I am now very excited to experience the marathon atmosphere and run with like-minded people!
Alice added: “The training has been hard but it has been worth it. Last year I could barely run a 5k so if I can inspire just one person it will all be worth it.”
Liddle and thousands of other runners will not only run the marathon for themselves but also for a greater cause. Liddle will be running for the disability sports team through London Sport. Since the first running in 1981, runners from the marathon have raised over £890 million for charity. Not just a great spectacle of sport, the London Marathon has become one of the largest fundraising sporting events in the entire world.
In total we have seven people running for London Sport, raising money to support more disabled leaders in sport, you can show each of them support through social media: Alice Liddle, Josef Baines, Cort Robson, Stephen Guan, Becky Wilkinson, Owain Gruffudd and George Haddad
It’s time to get inspired
Marathon winners have become household names and their stories the stuff of legends. Every distance runner in the UK looks up to those brave enough and strong enough to endure the 26 mile course. This year leaves plenty of intriguing questions; Can Kenyan-born Mary Keitany and Eliud Kipchoge win their fourth and third victories respectively? Will Briton David Weir seal up his eighth victory in the wheelchair race?
All these questions and more will be answered with a pageantry and grace that only London can produce. The world will ascend on the capital to run for pride, for their homeland, for charity. It’s time to get inspired, if average people can perform the feats of world class athletes, there’s no telling what they can do.