The London Marathon gained immense popularity over the years when it first started its journey in 1908 Olympic Games. It was one of the most dramatic as well as controversial events when the event was first planned to be 26 miles which as stretched by 386 yards for reaching the runners to the finishing line.
In the first year of London Marathon, Italian Dorando Pietri entered the White City Stadium as the first runner, but after collapsing several times and running in the wrong way, he was brought to the finishing line by the help of two officials and consequently he was disqualified. Therefore, the winner’s medal was awarded to American Johnny Hayes; however, the winner’s glory went to Pietri.
History behind ‘The’ London Marathon
In 1981 when the first ever London Marathon was officially held, it followed the inspiration of former Olympic champion Chris Brasher. The organizers received more than 20,000 applications where 7,590 people took part in it. The title was won by American Dick Beardsley from America and Inge Simonsen from Norway. However, in the following year more than 90,000 applications reached for 18,000 places. Gradually, the London Marathon became a well-established event for the world sporting calendar and it had been broadcasted in more than 150 countries.
Changing Track of the London Marathon
The London Marathon experienced few changes in its track. When the finishing line was fixed on Constitution Hill in 1981, it was taken to Westminster Bridge in the next year where it stayed up to the year 1994 when there was a requirement for repairing of the bridge. Thus, the race got a new impressive finish in the Mall, just in front of the Buckingham Palace.
In the history of the London Marathon, the biggest change occurred in 2005 on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. In this year, the flat stretch and flat track replaced the prominent Tower of London cobbles on the Highway. This track was led to the Isle of Dogs loop located between 15 and 21 miles which was completed in the antilock direction. This change added a 45 seconds improvement in timing for the elite runners.
The Charity behind the London Marathon
Even since it started, the London Marathon was participated by more than 720,000 runners while 35,694 participants were able to finish it in 2007, making it the largest participation ever. Earlier the participants used to raise the sponsorship money themselves for their own causes. However, in 1984, the marathon first announced its official charity and granted the fundraising to the Sports Aid Foundation and since then this marathon has had one or more than one official charities. Over the years, it has been reported that more than £361.5 million sponsorships have been collected while in 2007, the record-breaking £46.5 million fundraising initiated to enter into a Guinness Book of world record being the largest single annual fundraising event.
The bookies have also been getting into the action by offering a slew of odds on the race participants. Online bookmaker bet365 in particular even offers odds on who is winning at certain lengths during the race to enhance the experience. For more about the odds, check out this bet365 review for more info.
While in 2015, Cancer Research UK was the official charity for the London Marathon, NSPCC will be the next official charity in 2016.