London Marathon 2024: Your ultimate guide

London Marathon records

Kelvin Kiptum broke the course record, with a 2hr 1min 25sec run last year. Paula Radcliffe holds the women’s course record, with a time of 2:15:25, set in 2003. 

When was the first London Marathon?

The first London Marathon took place on March 29, 1981. Inspired by the New York City Marathon’s launch in 1970, Olympic steeplechase medallists Chris Brasher and John Disley created the London edition with hopes to “provide some happiness and sense of achievement in a troubled world”.

Only 7,741 runners set out from Greenwich Park for the first London Marathon, a fraction of the 50,000-plus expected to cross the start line this Sunday. 

How to enter the London marathon

There are six ways to secure a place at the 2025 London Marathon: through the ballot, charity entry, good for age entry, British Athletics Club entry, deferred entry or through a tour operator, for those who live abroad. 

The TCS London Marathon MyWay also allows people to complete a 26.2-mile route of their choosing, wherever they are in the world. 

London Marathon ballot: when is it and how does it work?

London Marathon hopefuls can enter through the ballot, with successful applicants selected at random. The 2025 draw opens on Saturday, April 20 and closes on Friday, April 26. Winners will earn a place in next year’s race, which will be held on April 27, 2025. 

Unsuccessful applicants will automatically be entered into a second ballot, where they will be twice as likely to secure a spot.