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London Marathon - the magical .22

The London Marathon was another success despite the heat. Superb organisation allowed for a thrilling finish as the four top runners pelted past Buckingham Palace. The women’s world record is still held by Paula Radcliffe (set at the London Marathon in 2003).

The Marathon at the 1908 Olympic Games in London had been set at exactly 26 miles. It was to be run from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium in the west of London with the start in the magnificent avenue of trees in Windsor Castle grounds. The day before the race King Edward VII had a cold, so his doctor advised him not to go out, and the start of the race was moved back 385 yards so the King could start the race in the great courtyard. This extended the distance to 26.22. After various other distances were tried in subsequent Olympics, 26.22 miles was adopted as the official marathon distance.

Having run 20 marathons, I can attest that it is often that last .22 that is the trickiest and most sublime.