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Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 07:15 GMT 08:15 UK
London gets set for marathon
London Marathon runners make it past the London Eye
The London Marathon appeals to millions of fans
Click here for starting times

The countdown has begun to the world's most famous road running event, the Flora London Marathon, on 14 April.

Around 32,000 runners are getting ready for the challenge of a lifetime - a gruelling 26.2-mile journey through the streets of London.

The 22nd London Marathon promises to have all the action, fun and excitement that has made the event so popular with millions of spectators.

  London Marathon
Length: 26.2 miles
Started: 1981
Finishers so far: 475,441
This year's entrants: Approx 32,000
Prize money: $55,000 to each winner

Men: Antonio Pinto (POR) - 2.06:36 in 2000
Women: Joyce Chepchumba (KEN) - 2.23:22 in 1999
Women (mixed race): Ingrid Kristiansen (NOR) - 2.24:06 in 1985

Men: Abdelkader El Mouaziz (MOR)
Women: Derartu Tulu (ETH)

The race from Greenwich to The Mall has a universal appeal, and not only includes some of the fastest runners in the world, but also athletes of all abilities.

Britain's club runners, wheelchair racers, marathon novices and fun runners dedicated to charity fundraising will also be in action on 14 April.

The Elite Races

This year's event boasts one of the most competitive international fields in marathon history.

It will also be marked by the much awaited marathon debuts of Ethiopian distance great Haile Gebrselassie and plucky British star Paula Radcliffe.

Gebrselassie will have to be on top form to take on old track rival Paul Tergat, as well as a host of other stars in the men's race.

Meanwhile, Radcliffe faces a familiar foe from her track days, Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia, who will be looking to defend her title.

The Flora London Wheelchair Marathon

Defending champion Abdelkhader El Mouaziz in 2001
Abdelkhader El Mouaziz returns to London to defend his title
Some of the world's best wheelchair athletes travel to London to compete.

Denis Lemeunier leads the strong French contingent as he defends his men's title, while Tanni Grey-Thompson will be aiming to win her sixth race in London.

The Mass Race

Tens of thousands of runners of mixed ability will take to the streets of the UK capital.

They will be testing themselves to the limit, but for many, in fancy dress, the emphasis is on 'fun' and raising money for charity.

London Marathon, which raised 24m for charity in 2001, has become number one annual charity fundraising event in Britain.

The big charities to benefit this year will be The Outward Bound Trust and Children with Leukaemia.

The Mini London Marathons

Youngsters between 11-17 years of age can also get in the act by taking part in the mini marathon or the mini wheelchair race.

More than 2,000 children are set to take part in the Adidas Mini London Marathon, which is run over the last 2.65 miles of the course.

The Adidas Mini London Wheelchair Marathon, which starts at Victoria Embankment and finishes in The Mall, is open to young wheelchair athletes from the London Boroughs, and invited individuals across the country.

Starting times for the 2002 Flora London Marathon

0900 - Elite women
0915 - Wheelchair and mini marathon
0945 - Elite men and mass start

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Race director David Bedford
"We have a great course"
Chef Gordon Ramsey
"It's incredibly painful"
BBC Sport Online's guide to the London Marathon

In-depth coverage

Winners in focus

Marathon guides

Photo Gallery

Marathon sportstalk

Official website
Links to more London Marathon 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.

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Links to more London Marathon 2002 stories

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