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After days of preparation, the day has finally arrived for the 2013 London Marathon.
The first arrivals on the Island were the Elite wheelchair athletes, amongst these were David Weir Paralympic hero from last year.
Next were the elite women which included Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana who will be the one to watch after her win at the London 2012 Olympic Marathon.World champion Edna Kiplagat, Priscah Jeptoo will be hoping to go one better than her silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Marathon. Florence Kiplagat latest win was at the 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon.
These were followed by the Elite men which was considered one of the strongest field in recent years. Runners included Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich, the surprise winner of the London 2012 Olympic Marathon, Olympic silver medalist and world champion Abel Kirui (Kenya) and Olympic bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang.
After the club runners was the large mass of the field which included a wide range of abilities, many have their own personal reason for competing often raising a large amount of money for charity.
The crowds grow year on year and many consider this year the largest yet, with many people coming onto the Island to support their family members.
The mens race was won by Tsegeye Kebede, second was Emmanuel Mutai and Ayele Abshero third.
The womens race was won by Priscah Jeptoo, second was Edna Kiplagat and Yukiko Akaba third.
However everyone who completes the race and the various charities are the real winners .
The Marathon route around the Isle of Dogs
Regular readers of the blog will know that I often comment the Isle of Dogs is relatively unknown to fellow Londoners and a wider audience . However for one day in April it receives national and international interest due to its role in the London Marathon.
Many thousands of people will be pounding the streets of the Isle of Dogs and many thousands more will be lining the streets. However this is a bit of a contrast to the early days of the Marathon in the 1980s when the Isle of Dogs suffered from transport problems and spectators generally watched the race in Greenwich and Central London. Local people supported the race but the population of the Isle of Dogs was a great deal smaller than today.
In the 1980s and 1990s race organisers had to contend with the massive building projects in Canary Wharf and often had to make small adjustments to the course.
A bigger change was made in 2005 , when the organisers decided to go anti – clockwise around the ” Island”.
For most runners the narrow streets and the winding part of the course in the Isle of Dogs at the 14 – 21 miles point has always been a challenge. For a number of runners they hit the “wall ” at this stage and struggle to complete the course.
The Marathon itself has grown in size and popularity year by year balancing the elite races which has been won by some of the greatest marathon runners and the mass of runners who include some who often dress up in outlandish outfits.This year there will be added interest with the appearance of Mo Farah long distance hero from last years Olympic in nearby Stratford.
The first London Marathon was held in 1981, more than 20.000 applied to run, 6747 were accepted and 6,225 crossed the finishing line.
In 2012 a record 36,705 crossed the line out of the 37,227 who started.
The London Marathon is the largest annual fundraising event in the world, in 2012 runners raised £52.8 million for charities taking the total raised in all the London marathons to a staggering £610 million.