Record number take part in London Marathon

By Bo Leung in London | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-25 07:35

A record 40,382 runners, including competitors from China, took part in the 37th London Marathon on Sunday - 1,242 more than last year.

This year, 202 runners from the Chinese mainland signed up to take part, along with 144 from Hong Kong and 26 from Taiwan.

Competitors were given a royal send-off by Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Prince Harry.

The event started in Greenwich, in southeast London, with runners making their way to Westminster, passing iconic London sites such as Tower Bridge and Big Ben before heading down the final stretch on The Mall.

Record number take part in London Marathon

The royal trio were joined in supporting the runners by around 800,000 spectators who lined the capital's streets to cheer on the professionals, charity runners, and amateur competitors along the 42.2-kilometer route.

Some fun-runners chose to dress up as superheroes, animals, and cartoon characters while British celebrities and politicians also took part.

This year's official charity was the Heads Together campaign, which aims to break down the stigma around mental illness.

Many of the runners took part in the marathon to raise money for a charity or organization that means something to them but they were also given Heads Together headbands to wear in support of the "mental health marathon".

Last year, the event raised around 60 million pounds ($76 million) for charity.

Around 50 runners attempted world records during the marathon, including the fastest marathon by someone dressed as an emoji, the fastest in a sleeping bag, and the fastest in Wellington boots.

A gingerbread man, Minnie Mouse, and horse-drawn carriage carrying a queen could also be seen making their way from Blackheath to The Mall.

The oldest competitor was 83-year-old Kenneth Jones, who has taken part in every London Marathon since 1981. The oldest woman was 81-year-old Eleanor Draper.

And the race was also about sportsmanship, with one runner attracting a lot of interest online after helping a fellow competitor over the line who was struggling with exhaustion.

Matthew Rees encountered the staggering racer as the pair rounded the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace.

To raucous cheers, the 29-year-old Rees put his fatigued rival's arm around his neck and hauled him to the end of the course.

"I took the final corner thinking 'right, it's nearly done, time to sprint', and I saw this guy and his legs just crumbled below him," Rees said. "I saw him try to stand up again and his legs just went down again, and I thought, 'This is more important, getting him across the line is more important than shaving a few seconds off my time.'

They were both cheered home by Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge, who had traveled to the finish line to witness the end of the race they had started.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

 Record number take part in London Marathon

A view of runners at Westminster during the 2017 London Marathon on Sunday.Andrewboyers / Reuters

(China Daily 04/25/2017 page11)

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349