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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 April 2006, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Thousands run in drizzly Marathon
London Marathon
Nearly 35,000 runners lined up for the 26th London Marathon
Thousands of people, from fun-runners to elite athletes, have braved damp weather for the London Marathon.

Nearly 35,000 runners, aged from 18 to their 80s, were aiming to complete the 26 mile (42km) course, which started at Blackheath and ended in the Mall.

Rower Sir Steve Redgrave and Gordon Ramsay were among the celebrity racers.

The women's race, the first to start and finish, was won by US athlete Deena Kastor in under a 2hr 20min time. Kenya's Felix Limo won the men's race.

Missing from the women's race was last year's winner Paula Radcliffe who has a foot injury.

Britain's David Weir eased to victory in the wheelchair race with a course record time of 1hr 29mins 48secs.

Wedding ceremony

Some 34,500 people from 50 nations lined up for the race, with about 80% of participants raising money for charity.

Lloyd Scott
Mr Scott expects to take eight days to complete the course

Lloyd Scott, who completed the 2002 event in a deep sea diving suit, is this year wearing a 100lb (45 kg) suit of armour and towing a model dragon around the course.

Mr Scott, who raises money for children with leukaemia, said: "It's far more difficult than when I did it in a diving suit, because it's about three times heavier."

His diving suit marathon holds the record for the slowest-ever finish - it took him five days.

His latest stunt is expected to take him eight days to complete.

Meanwhile, a couple from Hampshire were married on Tower Bridge at the half-way point of the race.

Katie Austin, Gordon Fryer

Katie Austin and Gordon Fryer said they were initially trying to fit their wedding around the marathon, but decided they would do both at the same time.

They have raised 13,000 for the Help the Hospices charity, after asking friends to donate money to the charity rather than give them wedding presents.

The pair were running with Ms Austin's parents Bob and Tina, who gave her away. The bride wore a full length ivory wedding dress with train above her running shoes.

Semi-retired Suffolk GP Dr Mac Speake was running the race for the 26th time, having completed every London Marathon since it began in 1981.

Dr Speake, 64, from Kettlebaston, near Ipswich, who was raising money for the Prostate Cancer Charity, finished the race in just under four hours.

He is one of a select group of only 28 people who have run the race every year. Last year the marathon raised more than 19m for charity.

However, organisers confirmed that there was no record of former Big Brother contestant Jade Goody finishing the race.

See the top Marathon runners cross the finish line

London Marathon photos
23 Apr 06 |  Photo Galleries
Limo edges Lel in sprint finish
23 Apr 06 |  Athletics
Kastor goes it alone to claim win
23 Apr 06 |  Athletics
Weir clinches wheelchair marathon
23 Apr 06 |  Disability Sport

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