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1981: Racing into the history books
Dave Clark and Steve Wehrle were among the 6,700 competitors to line up at the start of the first London Marathon on 29 March 1981.

And they've completed every gruelling one since, making them both members of the exclusive band of runners known as the "Ever Presents".

Steve Wehrle | Time: 3:51:26
I was 33-years-old when I ran the 1981 London Marathon and it was the first one I'd done.

I started running in 1978 when I realised how unfit I was. I decided to jog a few miles once or twice a week.

I was feeling incredibly nervous - I was really unsure whether I could run 26 miles.

But I read a story about the New York marathon and thought it sounded like a wonderful event. Then Chris Brasher came back from the US and said that it was the sort of thing we ought to be doing in London.

At that time I didn't belong to a club and I didn't really know what sort of training one ought to do. I think the furthest I ran before the event was probably 16 or 17 miles.

I was feeling incredibly nervous, I was really unsure whether I could run 26 miles.

It was a big atmosphere but it was a lot more low key than it is these days. The major change in the route is the difference in the Docklands. Today it has been hugely rebuilt - there's lots going on round there and there are crowds all around the area.

Bad patch

But in those days that six or seven mile loop from Tower Bridge was desolate and empty.

It was pretty lonely and that's the bit it can hurt if you haven't trained properly.

I hit a bad patch, but I can't remember exactly where because I've run quite a few since and they all merge into one another to a certain extent.

I ended up finishing in 3:51:26, which considering I didn't know what I was doing I was quite pleased with.

In 1991 I managed to run 2:59:59 and I was extremely pleased with that.

Short memory

Since those days I've got a lot slower, especially the last couple of years - you can't go on speeding up forever.

I now take about four hours. You would think it might be easier to run an hour slower, but in fact it's not. It hurts just as much.

It was never a plan to run them all. At the end of it most people always say, "That's it, never again".

Thank God I've got a terribly short memory - every year I tend to forget a week later what the pain was like and start training for the next one.

As soon as I miss one I shall pack up doing marathons. But I won't stop running - I love it.

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Steve Wehrle, 2003
Steve Wehrle, 54, estimates he has run 34,000 miles since 1978

Dave Clark in 2003
Dave Clark, 67, has now run 25 London Marathons

Dave Clark | Time: 2:53:55
We got really excited at Newbury Athletics Club when Chris Brasher mooted the idea of a London Marathon. In those days there was nothing near that sort of level of competitors.

You usually got just two or three hundred competitors, but not going into thousands, so this was really something. The first one was one we really didn't want to miss - but almost did!

We found the Tube station near our Kensington hotel wasn't open.

A group of about nine of us kept together and we were heading for Earl's Court when we saw a taxi.

Seeing our frantic waves he stopped, but said he could only take six of us. When he heard the reason we were desperate to get to Paddington for a train, he said we could all get in, but three of us would have to sit on the floor out of sight.

You start training for the London about a week after you finish the last one

It was like a greenhouse - the windows were all steamed up because we'd worked up a bit of a sweat looking for this taxi.

The race went off fine - it was a superb occasion, with huge crowds and helicopters whirring overhead, it was really exciting. I did a fairly good time which I was very pleased with.

I didn't realise at the time what an impact that first race was going to have on the rest of my life. Because from then on the London Marathon was the thing I was aiming for.

You start training for the London about a week after you finish the last one.

I've had many injuries over the years which I would never have contemplated running any other race for. I've started with a cracked rib, contracted a stress fracture at nine miles one year, pulled muscles and raced with the flu.

We [The Ever Presents] don't want to give up too soon - my aim now is to get to 25 races. Whether I'll be able to carry on after that I don't know.
Both men completed the 2005 marathon. Just 29 runners have taken part in every race since 1981.

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