1. In 2011, a football freestyler called John Farnworth completed the marathon while keeping a ball up in the air between his right and left foot with every step. He finished in 12 hours 15 minutes and did not drop the ball once. That puts our keepie-uppy record of 25 to shame.
2. Former 10,000m world record holder and future London Marathon race director Dave Bedford ran the first race for a £250 bet he accepted sometime after midnight the morning of the race while merrily downing beers in the Mad Hatter club in Luton, which he owned. Four pina coladas, a phone call to race co-founder Chris Brasher, a king prawn curry and another pint of lager later, Bedford finally got to bed at 4.45am. Just 75 minutes later he was woken by a friend heading for the start. Despite vomiting into a drain on BBC TV, Bedford completed the race before falling asleep in a pub. He never received his money. LAD.
3. The slowest ever London Marathon was five days and eight hours in 2002 by Lloyd Scott, wearing a 110lb deep-sea diving suit.
4. Fauja Singh, from Essex, is thought to be the oldest person ever to complete the London Marathon. He was 93 when he took 6 hours 7 minutes in 2004. Singh carried on running until he was 101, while his appearance, aged 100, at the 2011 Toronto Marathon made him the oldest ever marathon runner. Jenny Wood-Allen is believed to be the oldest woman to finish in London. She was 90 when she took 11 hours 34 minutes in 2002. We’ll be having a word with our nan tonight – we reckon she’d do it in under three hours.
5. In 2011, Stefan Engels – aka marathon man – ran a marathon every single day for an entire year and covered a total distance of 9,575 miles. Which definitely isn’t a mental thing to do. At all.
6. Ethiopian runner, Abebe Bikila, was a two-time Olympic marathon runner who ran the race barefoot. He returned to his country a hero. And probably with a few blisters, too.
7. In 1969, women weren’t allowed to run the marathon. But Kathrine Switzer stuck two fingers up to that when she crashed the Boston Marathon that year. She was chased down men who tried to stop her, but she outran them and finished the race. Long live Girl Power.
8. Today’s race is 26.2 miles thanks to the Royal Family. In the 1908, Queen Alexandra requested that the race start on the lawn of Windsor Castle and finish at the royal box at the Olympic box of the Olympic stadium, and the length of the race has stuck. So when you’re running that excruciating 26th mile, you’ve got Queeny to thank for your pain.
9. The men’s course record is 2:04:29, set last year by Kenyan Wilson Kipsang.
10. Paula Radcliffe broke the World Record at the London Marathon in 2003, which still stands at 2:15:25
For more info, visit virginmoneylondonmarathon.com