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Flora London Marathon - Ian Redmond
April 18th 2004
his 50th birthday, Great Ape ambassador and all round favourite conservationist,
Ian Redmond, completed the London Marathon for the first and only time
on Sunday 18th April 2004 in a time of 4 hours 47 minutes.
In 1979, hours after having run the York Marathon, the former Olympic champion Chris Brasher wrote an article for The Observer which began: "To believe this story you must believe that the human race be one joyous family, working together, laughing together, achieving the impossible. Last Sunday, in one of the most trouble-stricken cities in the world, 11,532 men and women from 40 countries in the world, assisted by over a million black, white and yellow people, laughed, cheered and suffered during the greatest folk festival the world has seen." Enchanted with the sight of people coming together for such an occasion, he concluded questioning "..whether London could stage such a festival?"
Within months the London Marathon was born, with Brasher making trips to America to study the race organisation and finance of big city marathons such as York and Boston, the oldest in the world. He secured a contract with Gillette of £50,000, established the organisation's charitable status, and set down six main aims for the event, which he not only hoped would echo the scenes he had witnessed in York, but also put Britain firmly on the map as a country capable of organising major events.
His vision was realised on March 29th 1981, with the inaugural London Marathon proving an instant success. More than 20,000 people applied to run: 7,747 were accepted and 6,255 crossed the finish line on Constitution Hill as cheering crowds lined the route. Now at capacity, a total of 46,500 were accepted from a record 80,500 applicants, with 32,563 finishing on the day. To date more than half a million people have completed the Marathon.
In its history, the course has remained relatively constant with the finish being the main point of change. Moving from Constitution Hill to Westminster Bridge in 1982, it stayed there until restoration work in 1993 saw it relocated to The Mall where it has remained to date. These changes have necessitated route shifts to accommodate the full 26.2 mile distance while the building work around Canary Wharf also brought about slight variations. The start however has always been on Blackheath Common and Greenwich Park, with the route as a whole designed to follow the Thames as closely as possible and finish in the heart of the capital.
Useful training information for runners.
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