Tens of thousands of people braved the pouring rain to complete what was arguably the largest London Marathon in history and which also saw a new best time in the men’s elite race.
Some 49,675 runners have signed up for this year’s race, up from the previous record of 43,199 in 2019, and around 48,000 are expected to cross the finish line on Sunday.
TCS London Marathon organizers said they have expanded numbers in a bid to hit a cap of 50,000.
The race also saw dozens of records broken, including a new best time for the London race set by Kelvin Kiptum, who completed the men’s elite heat in 2:01:25.
Meanwhile, amateur runners broke 45 Guinness World Records, including Alex Grady for fastest time dressed as a boxer and Richard Allison for fastest dressed as a three-dimensional dinosaur.
BBC Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts, who started using an ostomy bag in 2021 after surgery for bowel cancer, completed the fastest marathon for a person with an ileostomy, with a time of 3 :30:22.
Roberts showed off a tiny replica medal for her ostomy, which she named Audrey, in a video posted to her Instagram story in which she thanked her supporters, adding, “We made it, your cancer.”
The riders set off under overcast skies with temperatures of around 8C (46.4F), and the downpours arrived mid-morning, affecting both the elite and mass races.
Among them were England rugby union captain Chris Robshaw, X-Factor 2014 contestant Jake Quickenden and a team of EastEnders actors competing in the memory of their late co-star Dame Barbara Windsor.
At the finish, Heather Peace – from the EastEnders crew – said she was ‘absolutely thrilled’ to hear they had raised £50,000 for Alzheimers UK.
Around £60 million is expected to have been raised for the charity in total.
The women’s elite race got off to a dramatic start after record holder Brigid Kosgei began to limp and retired after just three minutes.
The Kenyan holds the fastest women’s marathon time of 2:14:04.
Sifan Hassan, a Dutch athlete of Ethiopian origin, took first place – an upset victory after falling at the 15-mile mark and clutching her hip, and as it was her marathon debut.
The 30-year-old finished with a time of 2:18.33.
Male winner Kiptum, 23, blew off Eliud Kipchoge’s world record by just 18 seconds.
Britain’s first-place finisher in the men’s race, Emile Cairess, finished sixth in his marathon debut, while fellow British athlete and junior medic Philip Sesemann placed eighth.
Sir Mo Farah, 40, who was racing at marathon level for the latest time, finished just behind in ninth place with a time of 2:10.28.
Protesters from Extinction Rebellion (XR) who gathered in nearby streets for the third day of their rally dubbed “The Big One” made good on their promise to avoid disruption to the race.