‘Glorious day’: London Marathon organisers hail 2024 event as records fall

    The London Marathon’s organisers have hailed another “glorious day” on the streets of the UK capital after a series of records – including the women’s-only world record – were broken.

    More than 50,000 finishers were forecast to have crossed the line by late on Sunday, another record, while the race director, Hugh Brasher, predicted that the race would raise more money for charity than any single-day event in history.

    “It’s been a glorious day, full of records,” said Brasher. “A women’s world record, record numbers of runners, and we believe a record amount raised for charity. The emotion is pouring out of people – this is just London at its best.”

    Brasher said he was particularly delighted that the race was on course to break its own fundraising world record of £66.4m, set in 2019.

    “So many people have been affected by the cost of living, and inflation has been going up,” he said. “But we know that something like 1.6 million people are giving money to people who are running today. It’s just been the most incredibly positive experience.”

    The women’s race was won by the Kenyan runner Peres Jepchirchir, who broke clear of three rivals on the Mall to set a new women’s-only world record of 2hr 16min 16sec. However, that record, which applies to races without a male pacemaker, was nearly five minutes behind the official women’s record, set last year.

    Peres Jepchirchir crosses the finishing line. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Meanwhile, in the men’s race, won by the Kenyan runner Alexander Mutiso Munyao, there was an unexpected surprise as two British men finished in the top four for the first time since 1988.

    Emile Cairess, whose late charge saw him move from eighth to third, and Mahamed Mahamed, who finished one place further back, will now both be selected for the British team for the Paris Olympics.

    Afterwards, both revealed they had faced challenges in their preparations. One of Cairess’s best friends, his cousin Oliver, had been in a coma for a month after a car crash. Mahamed said he had had to train after midnight – and get up at 4am to eat before running again – because of Ramadan.

    In the men’s wheelchair race, David Weir managed to finish third in his 25th year racing the course. “I’m absolutely spent,” he said. “I can taste blood and everything. I gave every single bit of energy.”

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    A runner in costume on the Embankment. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    The Guinness World Records team were busy, with a number of weird and wacky records being broken – including by the American Emma Whatley, who ran 4hr 38min to take the record for fastest marathon dressed as a road vehicle (female), despite having a model fire engine as her costume.

    Meanwhile, the billionaire Jim Radcliffe ran an impressive 4hr 30min, giving him an hour to get to Wembley to watch Manchester United take on Coventry in the FA Cup semi-finals. “There are some parallels with football and the marathon,” the 71-year-old told the BBC afterwards. “It just requires some grit. After 30km, the marathon gets difficult. We are only in the first 10km in the football.”

    A record 20 members of parliament also ran this year, including the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, who finished in 5hr 44min, and the former health secretary Matt Hancock, who logged 3hr 56min. The fastest MP was Conservative Alun Cairns, on 3hr 27min.

    Before the race there was a warm round of applause for the winner of last year’s race and the world record-holder, Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a car ­accident in February.

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