- The London Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors which comprises six annual races for the cities of Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City
- The event was first run on 29 March 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since
- The race was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley. It is organised by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel as Chief Executive
- It is set over a largely flat course around the River Thames, the race begins at three separate points around Blackheath and finishes in The Mall alongside St. James’s Park
- The distance of the London Marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km)
- The event has raised over £450 million for charity since 1981 and holds the Guinness world record as the largest annual fund raising event in the world
- 253,930 people have registered in the ballot for the London Marathon 2017 with only around 50,000 that will be chosen to participate (the actual number that will run on the day will be around 30-40K due to injury and illness).
The course begins at three separate points: the ‘red start’ in southern Greenwich Park on Charlton Way, the ‘green start’ in St John’s Park, and the ‘blue start’ on Shooter’s Hill Road. From these points around Blackheath at 35 m (115 ft) above sea level, south of the River Thames, the route heads east through Charlton. The three courses converge after 4.5 km (2.8 miles) in Woolwich, close to the Royal Artillery Barracks.
As the runners reach the 10 km mark (6.2 mile), they pass by the Old Royal Naval College and head towards Cutty Sark drydocked in Greenwich. Heading next into Deptford and Surrey Quays in the Docklands, and out towards Bermondsey, competitors race along Jamaica Road before reaching the half-way point as they cross Tower Bridge. Running east again along The Highway through Wapping, competitors head up towards Limehouse and into Mudchute in the Isle of Dogs via Westferry Road, before heading into Canary Wharf.
As the route leads away from Canary Wharf into Poplar, competitors run west down Poplar High Street back towards Limehouse and on through Commercial Road. They then move back onto The Highway, onto Lower and Upper Thames Streets. Heading into the final leg of the race, competitors pass The Tower of London on Tower Hill. In the penultimate mile along The Embankment, the London Eye comes into view, before the athletes turn right into Birdcage Walk to complete the final 352 m (385 yards), catching the sights of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, and finishing in The Mall alongside St. James’s Palace. This final section of the route formed part of the 2012 Olympic Marathon Course.