The Race Is On

It’s one of the world’s most spectacular marathons, with more than 40,000 runners, and one that all elite athletes want to win. But what makes the Virgin Money London Marathon (22nd April) so special?

It’s probably the iconic landmarks the route passes, including the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, the Tower of London and its finish line in front of Buckingham Palace – as well as the millions of pounds raised for charities. In addition to the many thousands of participants in fancy dress, all serious eyes are on the men’s and women’s world-famous runners. This year, look out for three of the greatest of their generation: Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele, our very own Sir Mo Farah, and Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge – who has twice won the London Marathon. This year there’s a big challenge for Paula Radcliffe’s 15-year-old women’s world record, when she ran the 2003 London Marathon in two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds. Once again Kenya’s Mary Keitany is going all out to beat it, having lost out last year by one minute.

This year, she runs with male pacemakers. ‘The marathon world record is something that I have been working towards for several years and I feel I’m now in the position where I can really attack the time of 2:15:25,’ said the three-time London winner. ‘I hope my form and health stay strong.’ Hugh Brasher, the event director, gives Keitany his support. ‘Paula Radcliffe’s world record was one of the greatest sporting achievements, and we’re so excited to learn that Mary is ready to challenge that.’ You might even witness sporting history being made.

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