The thirty third London Marathon passed through the Boroughs of Lewisham and Tower Hamlets on Sunday during its 23 mile route and attracted record crowds of more than 700,000 who cheered and clapped 34,278 runners crossing the finishing line in the Mall.
Millions of pounds have been raised for hundreds of charitable causes many involving heroic individuals from East London Lines Boroughs. Runners dressed as insects, roman soldiers and the Emperor Napoleon pounded the route in record times for their costumes ranging from 2 hours 52 minutes and 9 seconds to 3 hours, 47 minutes and 14 seconds.
Former West Ham United star Christian Dailly ran the marathon in 3 hours, 6 minutes and 26 seconds narrowly missing first spot for quickest celebrity.
The day began at Shooters Hill with the elite runners and wheelchair races starting at intervals between 9am and 10am. The masses congregated at Blackheath, surrounded by transporter lorries booked to take their belongings to the finish line. Thousands of spectators lined the course, with multicoloured hot air balloons hovering over the start line.
Before the race started, the crowds marked a 1 minute silence in response to the attacks at the Boston Marathon. Many participants wore black ribbons on their vests in memory of the victims.
The mass race started with the announcer introducing Olympic champions such as Mo Farrah and Tsegaye Kebede as they approached the line. With the sound of the klaxon, the race started.
Within forty-five minutes, the course was clear and spectators headed towards the centre of Blackheath. Local businesses took advantage of the crowds. The Montpellier Cafe said that they had been busy and had opened early especially for the event. A local family set up a charity stall in their front garden, selling food and drink to passers by.
In Tower Hamlets thousands of people lined the 11 miles of the course passing through the borough. The Highway in Shadwell, was a particularly popular spot, with a view of the Shard and the race course passing at two points. Spectators had the opportunity to cheer on runners at both the 13 and 22 mile mark.
The high volume of people in the area meant an increase in local business. The owner of local off-licence Venus said that it “brighten[ed] up the area”.
A collision at the 15 km feeding point near Canary Wharf between Olympic champion Tiki Gelana in the elite women’s race and Josh Cassidy, the world’s fastest wheelchair racer attracted controversy. The London Marathon organisers said “We regard this as a racing incident which happened in the midst of two fiercely contested battles between some of the best marathon competitors in the world.”
Race Director Hugh Brasher said “With wheelchair racers and elite women on the road at the same time, and our fields getting bigger, this sort of accident can happen.” He added “We will consider any future improvements in consultation with our athletes and all the relevant partners and stakeholders.”
The London Marathon promised to donate £2 for every finisher to The One Fund Boston set up to help the victims of the terrorist bombings. 34,278 runners crossing the line means £68,556 has been raised for the fund.
Contributors: Dea Cisar, Hannah Newton, Evy Samuelsson, Julie Thing.