It's time for us to call it a day here, I'm afraid. I'm being dragged away from my seat kicking and screaming. Coverage continues on BBC Red Button and here on the website until 1500 BST, if you want to keep up to date with the fun runners, and possibly catch a glimpse of a loved one, and there will be a highlights programme on BBC2 and online at 1800 BST
, just in case you've missed anything. It's been inspirational watching people run, walk, crawl and even dance their way through London. Finally, thanks for all your contributions, it would have been a lot duller without you.
From Simon Cowton, via text:
"Keep going Huddersfield marathon band. You are doing the Uni proud and we are all cheering for you! "
Could it be one of the most memorable marathons? Talking of great marathon moments, there was a
earlier this week with Michael Watson where the former boxer, who suffered brain damage 20 years ago, recalls his experience of completing the marathon in six days, two hours and 27 minutes back in 2003.
It's been a great day for the
running super-quick course-record-breaking times in the sunshine.
flew the British flag as he won a record fifth men's wheelchair race and Jo Pavey and Louise Damen achieved the tough qualifying time for the next year's Olympics. A pretty splendidious day all in all. (No, I don't think splendidious is in the dictionary, either.)
Some people don't like to make things easy for themselves, they really don't. There's a Cate Davis out there who, for the last five days, has cycled 50-60 miles a day to get to the starting line from her home in the Lake District. Then there's the Huddersfield University Marathon Band who are marching the marathon while playing their instruments. I bet the majority of these sorts of ideas start in the pub...
There are 182 runners who are celebrating their birthday today. I'm not sure I'd choose to spend my birthday running the marathon, I'd hopefully be drinking a cocktail somewhere and eating a JCB full of ice cream, but there you go. Happy Birthday, folks.
Amy MacLaren on Twitter:
"London looking even more glorious in the spring sunshine today (although not great heat for the London Marathon runners)"
Running Man on Twitter:
"My girlfriend reckons we should do it next year! I'm trying not to get persuaded by the exciting BBC coverage! *quite tempted*"You call yourself Running Man and you need persuading to do the London Marathon?! Go on, do it. Dare you.
And just to prove that the field isn't full of lithe youngsters, there are 12 sprightly octogenarians out there, too. They put us all to shame. Go on, do a sit up to make you feel better. One is Roy Redford who has run the last 20 London Marathons since he took up running in his 60s and has raised over £100,000 for charities. Roy, will you be my granddad?
Possibly even madder still is John Bedford, who is running the marathon wearing a full bomb disposal suit to break the record for, you guessed it, 'fastest marathon in a bomb disposal suit'. But these guys are obviously not mad or crazy because they, like many out there, are doing it for very good causes. All the best, chaps and chapettes.
Some interesting/crazy (delete as appropriate) characters out there today. There are a couple of soldiers, Lee Riley and captain Barry Stoddart, to give you their names, who are attempting a world record for running the fastest marathon carrying a 40lb backpack. Will they do it? And which one will get the record?
Nathan on Twitter:
"If I was running it, I'd listen to So What
by Pink and some Black Eyed Peas... something with a strong beat to keep me going!" Black Eyed Peas are always a winner. I'm going to have to look the Pink tune up, though. I'm obviously not down with the kids!
Alex Caplan on Twitter:
"Watching the marathon is one of my favourite moments of the year. Watching so many determined men and woman running for good causes."
Here are some facts for you (to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas
, if you wish): At today's London Marathon there will be 37,500 medals, 40,000 foil blankets, 23 water stations, 3,050 marshals, 50 ambulances, 100 first aid kits, 500 stretchers, 250 tubs of petroleum jelly, 200 bottles of baby oil (?!), 39,500 goody bags, 40,000 apples and 1,250 portable looooooooos.
From Jasmine, via text:
"It not about coming first, second or third - it's about enjoying yourself and raising as much money as you can for your charity! Go Jennifer! Go, go, go "
They've just played 500 miles by the Proclaimers. Smashing. Sue Barker has managed to grab a word with Dwight Yorke
, who has finished and is now showing us those famous pearly whites. "I had no idea what training to do for the marathon," admits the former Trinidad and Tobago forward. "I got to 23 miles and then I walked for pretty much a mile and a half but the crowd has been absolutely superb and they get you through."
Record breaker David Weir
believed his new chair proved the difference in the men's wheelchair race as he eased to a fifth London Marathon victory. "It was tough all the way," he said. "I kept surging to see who was good and who wasn't. When Frei surged at the end I didn't think I could keep up. The new chair has made a big difference for me. I've won this one for my coach Jen's [Jenny Archer] mum who passed away recently."
So, you feel like you've run full pelt into a 10ft barrier of bricks, it feels like someone has lined your trainers with lead and your legs, to paraphrase from Peter Allis, feel like guacamole. What I want to know is what would be your song of choice at this moment? What is the tune to get you through the pain barrier? (Oh, and Eye of the Tiger is banned from the playlist just because.)
There are a number of sports starts giving it a go. They should find it easy, right? Former England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall
is among the crowd of runners somewhere, as is Wales manager Gary Speed
. Actually, there are a few footballers - Muzzy Izzet
(ex-Leicester City) and Chris Perry
of Wimbledon and Spurs fame.
First glimpse of former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke
and it looks like he's finding the 26-miles a little gruelling. He did predict that he'd finish in just over three hours. No chance of that.
From BBC's Jonathan 'Stevo' Stevenson's nephew on text:
"I want to wish Melaney Noon the very best of luck in her first marathon. She's a real-life hero. "
1310: Britain's Shelly Woods
says she was happy with her performance despite narrowly losing out on top spot. "I was trying hard during that little bit but Amanda was too strong," said the 24-year-old. "It was fast and I enjoyed it. You always knew it would come down to a sprint on this course. I was trying to save a little for the finish."
1304: BBC Sport's Jonathan Pearce
has just KISSED Denise Lewis! I repeat, Jonathan Pearce of Match of the Day fame has just kissed pundit Denise Lewis for a bet. The cheeky devil. By the way, former Olympian James Cracknell and model Nell McAndrew have completed the 26-mile course.
Anyone seen a man dressed as a Rubik's cube? He's Uli Kilian and is hoping to solve 100 Rubik's cubes while running today. It would be a world record. Denise Lewis spoke to him a few minutes ago and he had solved 60 puzzles. I was passed by a man dressed as a Rubix cube when I did the Cardiff half marathon a couple of years ago. I wonder if it's him. I tried to overtake him but my legs wouldn't let me. Annoyed I was.
The London Marathon is always an emotional event. Seeing thousands of people pounding the roads in memory of loved ones really brings a tear to the eye. There really are some remarkable stories out there.
From Karen and family, via text:
"To Claire & OJ running in memory of Gary who died, aged 29, from congenital heart disease - and for MacMillan nurses who cared for him. "
- There are lots of celebrities out there running for various charities. Most of the ones I've heard of are soap stars, but that says too much about me. Look out for Callum Best
(son of George), Chris Chittell
(you know, Eric Pollard from Emmerdale), model Agyness Deyn
, comedian Joe Pasquale
and, one for the girls, model David Gandy
(beautiful blue eyes). Although, I'm not saying Eric Pollard or Joe Pasquale aren't for the girls, each to his own and all that.
Some toe-tapping music being played on BBC1
just now while they show some picturesque shots of the capital. The elite runners have finished so I'll take this opportunity to ask you again to get sending your messages. You know the drill by now, yeah? Just in case, I'll tell you that you can tweet using the hashtag
or text 81111
(UK) with MARATHON before your message. Easy.
The fine weather has produced some scintillating racing today. Who would have thought we'd see such quick times in the men's and women's events? Mara Yamouchi
believes Keitany can go even quicker "because her half record is amazing." Yamouchi also had some positive thoughts for Brits Pavey and Damen: "If they do decide to run in the World's I think they'll do terrific. This was definitely the best race I've ever seen, the depth in the field is really sensational."
1234: Jo Pavey speaking to Sue Barker:
"The first half felt quite slow but the second half was awful really, I enjoyed it and I know I've got a lot to learn. From here I need to think about longer sustained runs. I know what I've got to do and I need to go away and do them. All in all I'm very pleased."
Sue Barker has just said it'll reach 20C this afternoon so I'm using that as another excuse to use the sunshine graphic. Can't have too many sunshine graphics, if you ask me. Scorchio!
1230: Britain's Louise Damen on BBC One:
"The crowd were phenomenal, they carried me through the last few metres. I don't think you can ever prepare enough for this event. It's a massive learning curve for me. From here, I'd like to work on my shorter distances and get some speed back."
1227: Men's winner Emmanuel Mutai on BBC One:
"I'm happy with the result, since I came to run in London I was fourth twice and second once, and now my dream has come true. I tried in New York last year and I came second but the best has come for me today. My aim was just to win the race I wasn't focusing on the time. It's a fantastic achievement for me personally."
From one of our
out on the course, via text:
"First mini marathon runners are home. Good luck to everyone else!"
A quick update for you on the mini marathon where we could possibly have seen the stars of the future. The brilliantly named Robbie Farnham-Rose
won the boys' under-17 race and told BBC's Sonali Shah: "When the crowd gets behind you it's such a great atmosphere. The finish is amazing." And amazingly Jessica Judd
made it three wins on the trot in the girls' under-17 competition. "I've been training really hard and around the course was amazing." In the the boys under-17 wheelchair Sheikh Muhidin
was the victor, while the superbly talented Jade Jones
won the girls under-17 wheelchair.
Tony Watts on Twitter:
"One sub five minute mile is incomprehensible to anyone but top athletes. How can these runners do 26 of them?"
My thoughts exactly, Tony
is the first British male to finish and does so in a personal best time. The Guernsey athlete will now surely be able to choose whether he competes in August's World Championship (the team gets selected on Monday, so I'm told). The next brave Brit to complete the distance is Andrew Lemoncello
. Not as good a finish as last year. The Scot really struggled in the latter stages.
That was the quickest marathon ever seen on the streets of London as Mutai smashes the course record with an unofficial time of 2:04.40. Martin Lel
clinches second spot in an astonishing sprint finish with Patrick Makau
. That's a top-three clean sweep for the Kenyans. They're pretty good at this long-distance malarkey.
1149: KENYA'S EMMANUEL MUTAI WINS MEN'S LONDON MARATHON
BBC Sport's George Riley on Twitter:
"Another terrific run from Jessica Judd retaining u17 girls title. Am hovering by imminent trophy awards waiting to talk to her."
Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai
is streets ahead of the rest. He, too, looks likes he's just gone for a lazy jog down the shops to get the Sunday papers. How do these distance runners manage it? Unbelievable stuff.
is the next Brit to finish and, although we'll have to wait for official confirmation, she seems to have done it a second under the magical 2:30 mark. Britain's head coach Charles van Commenee has set a qualifying time of 2:31 for next year's Olympics so I'm sure the Dutchman will be pleased to have two women already under that time.
A tired looking Jo Pavey
is the first British woman to cross the line and becomes the seventh fastest British female in history. It's an unofficial time of 2:28.23 for Pavey. "She's run really well, I don't think she's in the best form ever, but I'm sure this now means Jo Pavey will firmly concentrate on the Olympic Games," says Brendan Foster.
Keitany was sauntering down The Mall to rapturous applause as she finished in an unofficial time of 2:19.18, the fourth fastest time in the history of women's marathon. Liliya Shobukhova is some way behind in second, but still breaks the Russian record. Edna Kiplagat finishes in third to make it two Kenyans in the top three.
1118: KENYA'S MARY KEITANY WINS THE WOMEN'S LONDON MARATHON 1111: Amanda McGrory
just edges Britain's Woods in a nail-bitting finish in the women's wheelchair. The two women were wheel-to-wheel as they raced down The Mall. Second place will hopefully make up for Woods' recent London Marathon disappointments, where, in the previous three years, the 2007 winner has been unlucky with punctures.
1108: BRITAIN'S SHELLY WOODS SECOND IN WOMEN'S WHEELCHAIR 1107:
It looks like there's going to be a real battle through the streets of London for second spot in the women's elite race. Shobukhova
, wearing some snazzy long white socks, is slightly ahead of Lornah Kiplagat,
looks to be cruising to victory. "We've never seen anything like this since Paula Radcliffe," says Brendan Foster.
There's three miles remaining in the women's wheelchair race and America's Tatyana McFadden
leads a pack of four, which includes Britain's Shelly Woods
. Could it be double marathon joy for Britain?
Britain's David Weir wins his fifth London Marathon in what was a superbly judged race by the 31-year-old. He patiently lurked behind Heinz Frei and made his move in the final 30 seconds to finish ahead of the Swiss.
1051: DAVID WEIR WINS THE MEN'S WHEELCHAIR 1050: Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson on David Weir
: "My money now would be on Weir."
Some beautiful shots of Tower Bridge in the sunshine. Lush. The pacemakers are still pushing the men onwards and the black-vested Kebede
is hovering behind them, but he's got guys with great pedigree alongside him, too, in the form of world champion Abel Kirui
is still out on her own and has just run the 19th mile in 5mins 11 sec. She looks so comfortable you'd think she's just on a leisurely Sunday jog. "She's in unknown territory. Is she going too quickly?" asks Brendan Foster. "Can she become the next Olympic champion? She certainly has the talent."
The men have gone beyond the 10-mile mark. They're being a bunch of steady Eddies. Three-time London Marathon winner Martin Lel
is among the leaders, as is Kebede
. "Emmanuel Mutai is a very good athlete and has run good times before, he's there in the leading pack," says Brendan Foster on BBC1. "Kebede thinks he can break the course record and I'm sure he can do that. The ones we expected to be there are there, but you expect when that pace shifts the pack will whittle down."
Kenya's Mary Keitany
has just run the fastest mile of the race, a jaw-dropping 5min 01sec. She's way out on her own and is treated to some wonderful music by some guys on the steel drums. "She's setting a terrific pace," says Brendan Foster on BBC1. "This young Kenyan looks to be extremely efficient."
1023: Mara Yamauchi
on BBC One: "Mary Keitany is well capable of going inside 2hr 20min and I think if she wants to win it will be here that she has to work. I don't think we should write off the second group just yet either. These conditions are perfect for racing now."
Mike Atkins on Twitter:
"Hopefully dad's crossed the start line by now, I think his target time was somewhere under four hours, good luck!" It looks like everyone's set off, Mike, other than someone who's dressed as a snail. He seems to be having problems getting beyond the starting line.
From TJ and the boys via text:
"Go on big Tone Daley, hope the inflamed toe doesn't cause you to much trouble"
Many people's favourite for the women's race, of course, is defending champion and world number one Shobukhova. The Russian has a pretty awesome sprint finish.
Here's a reminder of last year's victory
(UK dwellers only, I'm afraid). Two-time London winner Irina Mikitenko is expected to be her closest challenger. She boasts the fastest time in the women's field of 2:19.19.
The women have just gone through the 20k point and Foster says there's "been a real increase in pace" as they run the last mile in 5:28. Last year's winner Liliya Shobukhova is leading the bunch. Jo Pavey is getting huge cheers as she approaches the halfway mark and even though she is way off the pace, she's looking in control.
The men's race has started rather slowly, although it's all relative, with the fourth mile being run at 4:28. The favourite Kebede is with the leaders, which Brendan Foster says is a smaller leading pack than he expected. It's a stark contrast to the quick-pace set in the women's race.
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson
with an update on the men's wheelchair race on BBC 2: "It's been a very tactical start and David Weir has made an early break to test the others in an effort to get them out of the main pack - at the moment he looks very strong. American Josh Cassidy is leading marginally from Weir."
From anon, via text:
"Good luck to Simon P-J, runner 6737, doing his third marathon in three weeks today. "Three marathons in three weeks?!
From all the Smith family via text:
"Good luck to Andy Dalton running his first London marathon."
Thousands of runners are now slowly manoeuvring towards the start point. The guys and gals out there have been forcing themselves through arduous training sessions throughout the cold winter evenings, jogging through fat rain, thing stingy rain, soak-you-to-the-bone rain all because of today (I hope they have anyway) so it's only appropriate to wish them the very best of luck.
The men are just about to gather around the starting line so I need to tell you about the British interest here. We have Andrew Lemoncello
. He came eighth on his London debut last year in a time of 2.13.40 so could do quite well today.
Steve Cram in his column
says he expects Lee Merrien
to do well, too. In fact, Cram wants to see six to eight British men coming in under the British Olympic qualifying time of 2:12. Easy peasy.
The women's elite racers have just run as close as they're going to get to the Cutty Sark and the big names - Bezunesh Bekele, Shobukhova and Atsede Baysa - are in what is a fairly large leading pack. They've set a quick pace, hopefully they won't pay for it later on. Britain's Jo Pavey
is a little behind but is going at a sensible pace.
Sue Barker's been talking to British athlete Iwan Thomas
, who is running his third London Marathon, on BBC 2. "If I go under four hours I'll buy myself a Harley-Davidson tomorrow."If I write more than 10,000 words today then I'm going to treat myself to a cupcake.
For all you getting ready for the marathon it's not too late to take some advice from Britain's greatest female long-distance runner.
spoke to BBC Breakfast's Mike Bushell,
who is running the marathon today, too, so say hello if you see him.
The wheelchair racers have just set off and there's a very real chance of a British victory in the men's race, as long as David Weir
who suffered two punctures last year,
has better luck this time around. He won the New York Marathon last November with ease and clinched three golds at the World Championships. "I'm on a real high. I'll be ready to make up for the disappointment of last year," Weir said.
(He means high as in happy/confident, just in case
It's quite cloudy and cool out there at the start points in Blackheath and Greenwich, perfect conditions for running you might say. It will get warmer as the day progresses, though, so that's plenty reason to put up the sunshine graphic nice and early. Putting on my coaching hat, the best plan would be to finish as quickly as possible before it gets too warm.
From Chris Parker, via text:
"Absolutely devastated not to be running today. I'd been training since August only for it for my knee to go just two weeks ago. Good luck to all you runners. I will be back next year. Remember the name."
Name noted, Chris. Get better soon!
Here's what new mum Jo Pavey
had to tell Sue Barker before the race: "I'm very, very nervous, but excited. It's scary doing your first marathon. I have a lot to learn but I'm going to give it a good go. I just want to get out there now. It's nice conditions. I'll try my best."
The women's elite racers are just about to set off and there are a few Brits you need to keep an eye out for. In bib 122 is Jo Pavey
, who is making her London debut, while Liz Yelling
and her sister-in-law Hayley Yelling
, who is also running the London Marathon for the first time, are also competing. The trio will probably be Britain's leading lights in the women's race.
You can watch and listen to it all here.
We've got it covered.
Sue Barker is presenting the coverage on BBC 2
right now but will be switching to BBC 1
at 1015 BST
. John Inverdale hosts BBC Radio 5 live's
coverage from 0930 BST. On BBC Red Button
and here on the BBC Sport website
you can choose which of the three races - men's, women's and wheelchair - to watch. And, of course, we'll keep you updated with all sorts here.
But when does it all start? I hear you ask. Patience. I was coming to that. Here you go: 0855 BST
- Mini London Marathon at Old Billingsgate 0900 BST
- Elite women's race 0920 BST
- Elite wheelchair race for men and women
- Elite men's race, UKA/England Championships for men and women and mass race.
Get sending in those good luck messages and let us know where you're watching the action - and who you're watching out for. Have you been strategically placed on the course to hold an energy bar or a banana for someone? Or are you still stuck on the M1? I hope not.
All you have to do today is get in touch. It's as easy as sitting at your computer eating a bacon and egg sarnie while watching a lot of people ask an awful lot of their poor poor feet. If you want to tweet then please use the hashtag
or if you're clutching a phone then feel free to text 81111
(UK) with MARATHON before your message.
It's no wonder race director David Bedford says the men's elite race "rivals any of those we've put together in the last few years", while he's described the women's elite field as "undoubtedly our strongest ever". Expect some competitive racing, especially as I'm sure they'll all have one eye on London 2012. You know, the Olympics - just 467 days to go. Don't pretend you haven't heard.
There's some serious business going on as well. Eight of the top 10 from last year's elite men's race are competing, with 2010 winner Tsegaye Kebede
only the fourth fastest man in the line-up. In the women's elite race, 13 women have run faster than 2hr 24min so it should be close.
What have we got for you? Only over 40,000 people running through the streets of one of the finest cities on the planet, some dressed as gorillas and centipedes, one who will be running backwards (don't raise your eyebrows, we've all wanted to run 26-miles backwards, right?) and a few who will be trying to break world records. What better way is there to start a Sunday?
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we're ready for the London Marathon, a test of stamina and mental strength like no other on these shores, not to mention the world's biggest one-day fund-raising event. A very warm welcome to you all.
So, I've come up with a list of what we'll need for the morning ahead:Energy drink?
Check Comfy footwear
Check Hearty breakfast?
Check Bib (for the tomato sauce from said hearty breakfast)?
Check Superman costume?