More than 40,000 people participated in the 39th London Marathon on Sunday, with many runner targeting over 80 Guinness World Records. Tennis ace Andy Murray fired the starting gun at this year’s event as the participants descended on the British capital for the race, the BBC reported. The marathon has raised 1 billion pounds since it started in 1981, according to race sponsors Virgin Money. Event director Hugh Brasher said: “No other mass participation event comes anywhere near this kind of fundraising. “We would like to thank every runner, supporter, donator, charity, volunteer, sponsor, spectator, staff member and everyone else who has contributed to this wonderful total.” Speaking about the funds raised for good causes, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said:
“This is an astonishing achievement and my congratulations go to everyone involved in making the London Marathon such a world-renowned fundraising success - helping millions of people over the last 38 years.” Men’s world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and home favourite Mo Farah headline a strong field for the elite men’s race.
Kipchoge, the Olympic champion who holds the course record, is looking for a fourth win in the race in five years. He has not been beaten over 26.2 miles since the 2013 Berlin Marathon. Eight-time winner David Weir will compete in the wheelchair race for the 20th consecutive year. A star-studded women’s field features four of the 10 fastest women of all time, the BBC said. Last year’s winner Vivian Cheruiyot is set to renew her rivalry with fellow Kenyan and world record holder, Mary Keitany.