London Marathon 2022: Thousands of runners take part in colourful event

Runners finish the London Marathon at the Mall (Action Images via Reuters)
Runners finish the London Marathon at the Mall (Action Images via Reuters)

Thousand of runners have crossed the finish line of the London Marathon to cheers and smiles from friends and family as the sun broke out on Sunday.

Up to 42,000 people set off on the eagerly-awaited 26.2-mile race from Blackheath in south-east London to the finish line on The Mall.

Elite athletes – including Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner – had already claimed victory in the wheelchair races on Sunday morning by the time most of those taking part began their runs in front of cheering crowds.

Participants included charity fun runners in colourful costumes, people undertaking a personal challenge and those wanting the chance to enjoy the incredible atmosphere which London always offers.

Lionesses Leah Williamson, Jill Scott and Ellen White – who were part of England Women’s Euro 2022 winning team – got things under way as official race starters in Blackheath.

Among those taking part is Rob Duncombe, chief pharmacist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, who is running for charity wearing an “absolutely stunning” 8ft tall oak tree costume.

The 54-year-old, from Chelmsford, Essex ran on behalf of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Actor Stephen Mangan, who is running for Marie Curie UK, joked that “for reasons I’ve yet to fully understand I’m running the London Marathon” as he urged people to sponsor him to help raise money for “an incredible charity”.

Kenya’s Amos Kipruto and Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw won their first London Marathon titles with victories in the elite men’s and women’s races.

Meanwhile, Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner set new course records as they won the London Marathon wheelchair titles.

Rail services started later than usual following Saturday’s strikes, causing some disruption for runners, while Tubes running to Westminster were jam-packed full of spectators on Sunday afternoon.

Organisers had advised people to plan ahead, but said they were “very grateful” to Southeastern and Network Rail for their help in ensuring that train services from central London to the starting point on Sunday morning ran as planned.

Sunday’s TCS London Marathon marks the third time it has taken place in October after it was moved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisers said the race will be returning to its traditional spring slot in 2023 with the ballot for places to run on April 23 open until 9pm on October 7.