And it’s yet another occasion where we Brits can take pride in being truly world class. OK, so a British runner probably won’t win, but all the runners will be taking part in the world’s biggest and best organised marathon.
And what an event it will be. More than 50,000 lucky runners will be taking part. ‘Lucky’ because a total of 253,930 people applied this year, so over 80% haven’t even made it as far as the starting line.
They’ll be cheered on by hundreds of thousands of spectators who’ll line the 26 mile race route to give their very vocal support. Several million more supporters will follow them on the TV or internet.
In amongst the elite athletes and celebrities will be thousands of ordinary people who will have spent hundreds of hours in their spare time preparing for the race and probably even more time spent cajoling friends and family to sponsor them.
Their individual efforts added together make quite a sum, as the total raised for good causes in the five years since Virgin Money has sponsored the event now stands at £261.4 million, so a cool quarter of a billion pounds.
Of course the runners won’t be so cool. In fact they’ll get through 50,000 bottles of Buxton mineral water or will be grabbing one of the 49,100 bottles of Lucozade Sport that will be handed out during the race. All that liquid may result in their having to use one of the 1,263 portable toilets that will line the course. They’ll also be running past 84 pubs although we doubt they’ll even notice them.
173 of the runners will have another reason to celebrate as it will be their birthday on Sunday. As birthday treats go, we can think of a few more that might be more relaxing but we doubt that they would swap them for the sheer excitement that the London marathon generates.
NB. One ‘lucky runner’ will be Darren Pascoe, who works here at Explorer Travel Insurance. It’s his first marathon but he’s still hoping to do it in a very credible 4 ½ hours. He’s running in support of his niece for the charity http://www.tuberous-sclerosis.org/. He’s already raised over £2,200 but would love to raise more. To support him, visit his Just Giving page