London Marathon as it happened

Re-live the action from London, where more than 35,000 runners took to the streets alongside the elite athletes.

22 April 2012 Last updated at 14:03 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 1343: 

    So, on a day when 200 bottles of baby oil and 100lb of petroleum jelly have been used in the capital, 3,450 bags of rubbish filled and 40,000 foil blankets dispensed, where we've seen Kenyan runners once again dominate and a Brit equal a wheelchair record, it is time for me to bring our live text commentary to a conclusion. Thank you for your contributions - they have, as ever, kept us entertained. Coverage continues on BBC1 until 1400BST and don't forget you can watch the highlights on BBC2 at 1700 BST, while there are videos and reports already up on this website, should you wish to read and watch the best bits of what has been a marvellous day.

  2. 1335: 

    Ashley Jason Scopes on Twitter: "Go on Blackpool Tower man!!!!! Keep going!!!!!!!!"

    Millie Thorpe on Twitter: "Feel like running now I've seen the #BBCmarathon. Gonna go for a run later."

    Imme Leipnik on Twitter: "Loving the runners dancing to YMCA as they cross the line - only in Britain\u2026"

  3. 1322: 

    More world records were broken at the 2011 London marathon than at any previous race, with 150 runners taking part in official record attempts and breaking 35 records. More attempts are being made this year and one runner hoping to enter the record books is Michael Szymanski, who is making a second attempt at becoming the fastest marathon in a fireman's uniform.

    Meanwhile, Marc Jenner and Mark Millrine, dressed as Bagpuss and Wellington the Womble, will attempt to run the fastest marathons dressed as a television character and a book character respectively. They will have to beat an impressive three hours and 21 minutes. If they are record breakers then they should have crossed the line by now. Fingers crossed.


    Vickie Turp on Twitter: "Good luck Dean Cornish and the Igloo runners, running 7th marathon in 7 days."

    Ffion Aizelwood on Twitter: "David Clegg, you can do it! Got all your supporters in Chepstow. WHOOP!

    Shaun Eley on Twitter: "So proud of my aunite @BrightSpark_Em, running her first London Marathon today. NO 34521... Cheer her on!!!"


    Karen via 81111: "Keep it up Debbie Wall at the 30K mark, doing a great job in your first marathon. Love you loads."

    Annette on text: "I would like to say I'm proud of Moheen from Manchester, running his first marathon."

    From Alison in South Wales: "Good luck and congratulations to everyone. You are all awesome."

  6. 1308: 

    I must mention Claire Lomas, a mum from Melton who is paralysed from the waist down after a horse riding accident in 2007. Lomas, with the aid of a robotic suit which enables people with lower-limb paralysis to walk, is aiming to complete the marathon in two weeks and hopes celebrities such as Gabby Logan and Tim Henman will join her en route.

  7. 1301: 

    As we've learnt, running 26.2 miles is simply not enough of a challenge for some people. Matthew Loddy will today hopefully finish his 100th marathon in 100 days, a journey which has seen the 46-year-old travel 2,600 miles, from the Algarve, through to Spain and France before returning to Britain.

    He started his journey on 14 January in memory of a friend who died of a rare stomach cancer in 2010. "Pain, I can cope with," said the businessman from Berkhamsted. "I've got injuries that will probably stay with me for months, years and possibly longer. But whatever happens, happens. I don't worry about what's going to happen to my body after this." Good luck, Mr Loddy.


    Bernard McWillians on Twitter: "Good luck to blind runner Andrew Moore, no 1913 from Gateshead Harriers, target 4hrs 28mins."

    Josie Verghese on Twitter: "Some amazing & inspirational #londonmarathon runner stories. Great causes & great efforts. Keep them coming."

    Callum Hind on Twitter: "Congrats to Peter Gould of Cambridge Hare & Hounds who has equalled the family record of 2.58 in his first marathon."

  9. 1255: 

    Oh my word! Once again, just as he did last year, Match of the Day's Jonathan Pearce has managed to get a sneaky kiss from Denise Lewis, all in the name of charity apparently. He who dares, I guess. Meanwhile, Sue Barker has been speaking to James Cracknell, who finished in 2:59.01. "The support from the crowd in the second half is just an idea what it''ll be like for the guys and girls at the Olympics, it'll be phenomenal," says the Olympic gold medallist.

  10. 1251: 

    There are 188 people out there today who are celebrating their birthday, one of whom is Holby City star Amanda Mealing, who turns 45 today, and said earlier this week: "I can get up in front of thousands of people, no problem, but this is so different. I'm a breast cancer survivor myself, so if I was ever going to do it this was the year."

  11. 1249: 

    Sue Barker has got hold of Lee Merrien, who tells her: "I'm very disappointed but what can you do. They [the pace setters] started off alright but maybe just a fraction too quick. From 20 miles it was quite hard work because you're into quite a stiff headwind by then. I had to pick it up a bit and to do that on your own is quite tough to be honest."

  12. 1245: 

    Look out for a man dressed as the Blackpool Tower and a pair of siblings 'running' on stilts (don't raise your eyebrows, it's perfectly normal). Dressed as a 24ft tall Blackpool Tower, 39-year-old David Lawrenson hopes to become the tallest costume to complete a marathon, while siblings George and Charley Phillips will attempt to beat 8:25 to become the fastest marathon runners on stilts. "In 2008 our mother lost her battle with lung cancer and so in her memory we thought we would challenge ourselves to do something a bit different," they said.

  13. 1242: 

    Huge cheers for Nell McAndrew, who becomes the first celebrity to finish, doing so in some style, too, crossing the line in under three hours. "Whoop," shouts the model before shedding a few tears. "That's a superb performance from Nel McAndrew," says Steve Cram. "No wonder she breaks into a few tears of joy and pride."

  14. 1238: 

    Denise Lewis is on Tower Bridge and has stopped a lady called Sasha, who is attempting to hula hoop around the course in under five hours. "I want to prove that anything is possible if you put your mind to it," says Sasha before trotting off to the distance with a hula hoop around her midriff, as you do.

  15. 1234: 

    Of course, it's always best to have a pack of tissues within reaching distance while watching the marathon because there are plenty of stories which will get even the most stoic of personalities blubbering. One of whom is Londoner Lee Ryan, who lost his best friend to prostate and bone cancer 13 months ago. Ryan is attempting to break the world record of 3:49 for the fastest marathon carrying a 20lbs pack.

    "I wanted to try what was possible without being ridiculous," said Ryan this week. "I've done a few marathons before and you can always race another one, but this is substantially more nerve wracking because I don't want to have a second attempt at a world record."

  16. 1230: 

    Some toe-tapping music from Maroon 5 accompany picturesque shots of the capital on BBC1 right now, with thousands of heads bobbing along the city's streets in what is described as the "fun" bit of the marathon. The elite runners have finished, but there are thousands more going through the pain barrier, raising money in the world's biggest one-day fundraising event so I'll take this opportunity to ask you to get sending in your messages. You won't get into trouble.

  17. 1227: 

    Claire Hallissey finished 11th in an unofficial 2:27:44, which is 40 seconds quicker than the time run by compatriot Jo Pavey and puts Hallissey in pole position for the final Olympic spot. "I just really enjoyed it and everything seemed to click into place," Hallissey said afterwards.

    "It's always difficult with a marathon because you can never tell until you get near the finish, it was the fastest I'd set out in a marathon and I could feel that extra pace and it did hurt. There was no point just turning up a running a conservative race and try to get a slight PB. It was an all or nothing race. I've done what I came out to do today so it's in the hands of the selectors so we'll see what happens."


    From Elaine and Bernard on 81111: "All the best of luck Kyria go for it we are cheering you on."

    Val and Larry on text: "Good luck Keith Weavers of Aurora harriers who ran from Birtley to London prior to doing this race!"

    F in north London: "Big shout out to my big bro running today as part of doing 2012 miles in 2012 for 3 amazing charities - good luck today!"


    Louisa Moodie on Twitter: "Prince Hazza on #BBCMarathon signing Wills & Kate up to next year's marathon live on air. Love it. He's such a jack the lad."

    Alison Ferris on Twitter: "Oh Prince Harry!! I'd run the marathon if he were waiting at the end..."

    Ben Cooper on Twitter: "Great interview with Prince Harry on #bbcmarathon show."

  20. 1205: 

    And Prince Harry, sporting a rather informal blue jacket and open-necked shirt, enjoying his morning in the capital. "It's the first time I've been on the finish line to watch it," he tells 5 live sport. "It's fantastic - a great atmosphere. Everyone's very, very happy." Probably not those who've still got 10 miles to run...

  21. 1200: 

    Claire Hallissey on her chances of Olympic selection: "I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

    She tells BBC Radio 5 live sport: "I knew that we were on target but it wasn't until I got to the clock with 800m to go that I knew for certain. I was running as fast as I could so it was not worth the effort working out what time to go for."

  22. 1159: 

    The clock ticks past the magical time of 2:12 and Lee Merrien, gasping for breath, has yet to approach The Mall. The breathless Brit appears from the corner and crosses in 2:13:40, a personal best for the Guernsey athlete. "That was a really good performance," says Foster in the commentary box.


    London Marathon on Twitter: "The official starter figure for the 2012 #LondonMarathon is 35,970."

  24. 1153: 

    An incredible sprint finish for second spot as Martin Lel, lurking on Tsegaye Kebede's shoulder as they approached The Mall, picks up the pace to overtake his rival for a Kenyan one-two, with Ethiopia's Kedede having to settle for third.

  25. 1150: 
    Wilson Kipsang wins men's London marathon

    Wilson Kipsang, the second fastest marathon runner of all time, looks as if he's just been on an effortless Sunday jog. He picks up his knees in a final burst to finish in 2:04:44 (unofficial), the second fastest time in London marathon history.


    Scotish Tiger on Twitter: "Unlucky FreyaMurray (2:28:11) but undeniably a wonderful 1st marathon."

    Bleddyn Jones on Twitter: "Kipsang is 4:44 minute mileing. That's incredible."

  27. 1142: 

    Hey! Hey! Hey! 'The YMCA' is now booming out of someone's ghetto blaster as the camera focuses on Merrien, sweat dripping from his jaw, but looking relatively comfortable, although a tad outside Olympic qualifying time. Liz Yelling gives the supporters an appreciative wave and raises her arms to the heavens before saying "I'm done" as she crosses the line in about 2:40.

    All together now: "It's fun to be at the YMCA..."

  28. 1136: 

    In the men's competition, Lee Merrien is on course for a personal best. You'd have thought the sound of the steel drums alone would act like booster rockets for the Brit, who is being encouraged by the partisan crowd. Kipsang, winner of the Frankfurt title in October, still leads the race by 15 seconds and looks set for victory, although not in world record time, which is a shame.

  29. 1128: 

    Claire Hallissey, keeping an eye on the clock as she grimaces down The Mall, is the first British female to cross the line and the Bristol athlete breaks out in a huge smile when she realises her time of 2:28 (unofficial) is quicker than Jo Pavey's, which means she could be on her way to the Olympics. Freya Murray is not too far behind Hallissey and gives her compatriot a big hug on the finishing line.

  30. 1124: 

    Keitany's unofficial time was 2:18.36, which is an African record. Meanwhile, in the men's race Wilson Kipsang, who has run the second fastest time in marathon history, has broken clear and leads on his own. It's all happening.

  31. 1121: 

    Weir also rules out making the record his own next year - and suggests he may never be back at London. "Maybe," he said, when asked by John Inverdale if this is his last appearance here.

    "I need a bit of time at home. I'll definitely take a year out after the [2012 Paralympics] because I want to spend some time with my family. There's not a lot of goals left to do."

  32. 1122: 
    Mary Keitany wins the women's London marathon

    The Kenyan runs a personal best, in the fourth fastest time in history and that must mean the two-time champ has booked her ticket to London 2012. Keitany wipes the beads of sweat from her brow and, such is the margin of her victory, she can look down The Mall to see Edna Kiplagat finishing second, just inside 2:20. Priscah Jeptoo is third to complete a Kenyan top three. Incredible!

  33. 1116: 

    Weir tells BBC Radio 5 live sport: "This is my favourite win ever - just because the field was so strong. This is the best field the London Marathon have ever organized.

    "It was very tight - very tactical the whole race. I covered everything in training this year. I knew I had to work on everything to win today."

  34. 1115: 

    There's a sprint to the finish for silver in the women's wheelchair race and it's Japan's Wakako Tsuchida who finishes ahead of Diane Roy. The Canadian seemed to just run out of fuel in the final straight.

    Incredibly, Mary Keitany has all but wrapped up the women's elite race, running the 25th mile in 5 minutes and two seconds. She is out of sight. "The last 10 miles has been some of the best marathon running you'll ever see," says an amazed Steve Cram.

  35. 1110: 
    Britain's Shelly Woods wins women's wheelchair marathon.

    "It's absolutely amazing what Shelly Woods has done today," says Tanni Grey-Thompson, as the Brit saunters to the finishing line almost three minutes ahead of her nearest rivals, raising her arms in the air and then coolly giving the cameras a wave as she crosses the line. "This is technically the best she has ever pushed," adds Grey-Thompson.

  36. 1108: 

    World champion Kirui has joined Kipsang and Ethiopia's Lilesa in the leading group and the trio are running at world record time. Lee Merrien has picked up the pace after a slow first 15k and, according to Cram, is the only British man who will be close to the 2:12 Olympic qualifying time.

  37. 1101: 

    In the women's race, defending champion Mary Keitany and Edna Kiplagat have released the shackles and are clear of the rest, with Keitany a few yards ahead of her compatriot. Claire Hallissey, by the way, is the leading female Brit.

  38. 1053: 
    David Weir wins men's wheelchair race

    The Londoner makes a dash with 200m to go to break through the tape in 1:32:23, equalling Tanni Grey-Thompson's record of six London marathon victories. Only a slight wince from the 32-year-old at the finishing line for a slight indication of the effort needed to win that race. "That was perfectly timed and well executed," says Grey-Thompson in the commentary box. "It shows that David Weir is in the best form of his life."

  39. 1051: 

    The men's wheelchair leaders are approaching Big Ben and Weir, in third, is in prime position. Japan's Soejima is leading at the moment, but Tanni Grey-Thompson warns that Weir needs to be right at the front if he is to win this race. In the meantime, Kipgalat and Lilesa are the two leading the men's race right now.

  40. 1047: 

    The leading women have started to pick up the pace, running the 19th mile in 5 minutes and 18 seconds and there are no longer any Ethiopians in that pack. Who'd've'thunk that a decade ago. Claire Hallissey is the leading Brit, running at 2:27 pace, with Freya Murray and Louise Damon, side by side, trotting along a few seconds behind Hallissey.

    "Wooo-hooo" yell the spectators, waving flags, banners and some foam sticks, as the elite men canter over Tower Bridge. The men seem to be in a rush to get to the finishing line. "They're going to start approaching world record pace," says a startled Steve Cram.


    Gabby Logan on Twitter: "That's a record.....I lasted a whole hour before I had a cry watching Marathon."

    Eleanor Oldroyd on Twitter: "Dreamt last night I was doing the Marathon - woke to discover I'm not. Phew. But good luck to everyone who is - you have my total admiration."


    London Marathon on Twitter: "Men: 44:29 for 15k. The men's leading group has reached the 15k point in 44:29 minutes, indicates a 2:05:10 finish now."

  43. 1036: 

    Scott Overall, who has been running at 2:12 pace, has stopped running. His work is done, so it seems. Brits Ben Whitby - a London policeman - and Merrien are currently on course to finish 20 seconds adrift of the Olympic qualifying time, so they need to press the accelerator. Better British news comes from 2007 winner Shelly Woods, who is comfortably leading the women's wheelchair race. "This is the best race I've ever seen her race," says Tanni Grey-Thompson. Praise indeed.

  44. 1026: 

    Lee Merrien, who was the first Brit to cross the line last year, is confident of being suited and booted in his Team GB kit. The Guernsey man says he is in "as good a shape as I've ever been in", which is nice. The 32-year-old has been running 120 miles per week (yes, per week) and has been altitude training in Kenya so is in tip-top shape. "If I'm the first or second Brit under 2:12 then that should pretty guarantee me selection," said Merrien. The cameras have just found him and he looks comfortable.

  45. 1023: 

    A rapid race might be good news for the Brits hoping to qualify for their home Olympics. There are two spaces available on the men's team, with Overall the only one to have so far dipped below the qualifying time of two hours and 12 minutes. Pacemaker Overall, who was selling shoes in Clapham last summer, has been charged with setting the tempo in the first 18 miles or so to help his compatriots reach the golden time of 2:12. Can they do it? Who will do it? Tell me!

    A sorry sight as Liz Yelling, looking ever so lonely and pained running on her own over Tower Bridge, looks to be out of contention in the battle of the female Brits.

  46. 1018: 

    The leading men have completed the first 10k in 29 minutes and 34 seconds. "Solid" is how Steve Cram describes their pace as they run around the Cutty Sark, the famous tea clipper built in 1869. As you may or may not know, the course is returning to this well-known landmark this year after being diverted due to restoration work on the ship following a fire in 2007.


    Harry Pike on Twitter: "Good luck to all those running, especially my friend Isobel."

    Carly Jones on Twitter: "My dad Ron Anthony, 60 last week, running his first marathon today! Go Dad! So proud of you."

    Ian Westbrook on Twitter: "Standing on the Embankment waiting to cheer on my daughter Juliette in under-15 girls race."

  48. 1009: 

    Three-time champion Martin Lel is lurking behind the pacemakers, having run the third mile in four minutes and 41 seconds. Phew. The women have now been running for over an hour and Britain's Louise Damen, hair in plats, is approaching the chard and is currently at 2:27 pace. "Ungainly but very effective" is how Foster describes her running style. The leading females have just crossed the iconic Tower Bridge, to warm cheers and flag waving, and behind pacemaker Chepkirui is Kebede, Jeptoo, Kabuu and Jelela.

  49. 1006: 

    James Argent is another who is on the list of 'celebrities and politicians' running today and after doing some research I've learnt that Argent appears in The Only Way is Essex, which is apparently a popular reality TV programme based in Essex, referred to warmly as TOWIE by its fans, of which there are apparently two. Sorry, two million viewers. [Thank you Wikipedia]. And, as if that wasn't enough information, TOWIE is, so I read, Britain's answer to The Hills and Jersey Shore\u2026 Hang on, I've never watched those shows either. Wikipedia! Stand by!

  50. 1001: 

    As always, there will be a few familiar faces pounding the streets in their best vest tops. Look out for shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who will have to dip under 2:32:57, beating Matthew Parris, if he is to become the fastest Member of Parliament to run the event. Chef Michel Roux, singer Will Young and model Nell McAndrew, who, in her sixth attempt, is aiming to break the three-hour mark for the first time, are also trotting along. McAndrew, who you might remember was named Rear of the Year in 2005, said: "I am on track for 2:59:00. No wind, please, that's my only request."

  51. 0958: 

    David Weir has been leading from the start in what is one of the strongest field assembled for the marathon. The Brit, making his 12th consecutive London marathon appearance, will have to beat two former London champions if he is to match Baroness Grey-Thompson's record. Heinz Frei, second last year, Canada's Josh Cassidy, South African Ernst van Dyk and in-form Japanese racer Masazumi Soejima, who won marathons in Tokyo, Boston and New York last year, will pose stern challenges.


    Caitlin Mason on Twitter: "Good luck to all of the runners whether running, jogging, crawling, or walking! inspiration to us all."

    Michael Hoy on Twitter: "Bringing back memories watching #bbcmarathon. Since I ran it two years ago I've put on 2 Stones."

    Dan Summers on Twitter: "Would be great to have a message shown for @guyeves on the BBC coverage this morning."

  53. 0948: 

    Go! Go! Go! Slowly but surely nearly 40,000 runners are making their way across the starting line after Dorothy Tyler set them on their way. The 92-year-old south Londoner, who won silver medals in the high jump at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 as a 16-year-old and then at the London Games in 1948, was this year's official starter.

  54. 0944: 

    Oh, yes. Today's marathon may turn into a sprint as the most lauded Kenyan distance runners scramble for the three places available for London 2012. Defending champion Emmanuel Mutai, world record holder Patrick Makau, two-time world champion Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang - who was four seconds adrift of the world record in Frankfurt at the end of October - are on their country's six-man shortlist and are assembling on the starting line as I type. "One of the greatest sights in sport anywhere in the world is about to unfurl once more," says Steve Cram.

  55. 0942: 

    Colin Jackson has been speaking to one of today's pacemakers, Scott Overall, who is - so far - the only British male to have qualified for London 2012. "It's great for me to be selected already and now I can sit back and relax and I don't have to race another marathon," Overall tells the former 110m world record holder. "Today I'm just hoping some of the British guys can run under the qualifying time of 2:12. Hopefully we can do a good job and a couple of them will do a good qualifying time. Up front it's going to be a great race - there might even be a world record - but it's my job to ignore them and set the pace for the Brits."


    Tom Galanis on text: "Good luck John Harley, running in memory of my dad, Alex, who lost his life tragically last month. Under 3:30 would be awesome."

    Barry Mcgonicle on text: "I have a great spot. At work overlooking mile 19 along South Collonade! Didn't even realise the Marathon passed here."

    Birmingham geography boys on text: "We are all loving watching the build up with our feet up having run the Paris marathon last week, good luck to everyone today and, as the French, would say, allez, allez!"

  57. 0935: 

    So, with conditions perfect and Olympic places up for grabs expect quick times today even, dare I suggest, perhaps a course record or even a world record to be broken. In the men's race, which will start in just over 10 minutes, 11 athletes have run 26.2 miles in under two hours and six minutes, and if that wasn't enough to stir the big pot of marathon excitement then what if I was to tell you that the Kenyans are treating this race as their unofficial Olympic trial.

    The leading women, by the way, which includes Kenyan trio Keitany, Kiplagat and Lucy Kabuu, are approaching the Cutty Sark and have completed the first 10k in 33 minutes 36 seconds.


    Sara on Twitter: "OMG THE QUEUES FOR THE TOILETS!"

    Abbi on Twitter: "Most British sight ever: long, very straight queues for the toilets at the #bbcmarathon - why are there NEVER enough toilets at races?!"

  59. 0927: 

    Defending champ Mary Keitany jogging along nicely at the front and, just to let you know, the women ran the third mile in 5 minutes 8 seconds but slammed on the breaks to complete the fourth mile seven seconds slower, which is just about right according to Steve Cram. "No world record for any of these athletes today but Olympic selection looms," says commentator Brendan Foster.

  60. 0922: 

    Weir, who won last year's event in a sprint finish with Heinz Frei on The Mall, celebrated victory at the Lisbon half marathon last month and success on the streets of the capital would be perfect preparation for London 2012. Although the Londoner has said: "I know a lot of people are counting down the days and the weeks but I have quite a few other races before that."

    Counting down the days? Where on earth did you get that impression, David. Ninety-six days to go by the way until the most humongous, most stupendous, most mammoth sporting event to be held on these shores. Ever, ever, ever. [Takes deep breath.]

  61. 0919: 

    The wheelchair racers are about to set off and the best chance of a British victory this morning will come from David Weir in the men's wheelchair race. The 32-year-old says he has had the "best winter I've had for a long time" and is in prime form to win a sixth London marathon and equal the record number of victories held by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, or Baroness Grey-Thompson I should say.


    Belamarise on 81111: "So much respect for everyone running the London Marathon today! Good luck. You can do it."

    Raytomany on text: "Envious of the London Marathon runners, good luck to them all. Lovely conditions for it."

  63. 0912: 

    Of the British women, US-based Claire Hallissey and Louise Damen, who have already achieved the Olympic qualifying time of two hours and 31 minutes, are hoping to secure a spot for the Olympics. The duo are competing with Jo Pavey and Liz Yelling to join Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi on the team. Scot Freya Murray is also running and, even though she is competing in her first marathon, she shouldn't be discounted.

    Pavey is currently ranked third in the UK but has decided to opt out of this year's race to concentrate on her Olympic preparation which is, as she admits herself, a risk. But Pavey says she is happy to "leave it to fate" so there you go.

    The Brits are now 10m or so behind the leading pack, who have set off at a relatively leisurely pace.


    Sue Middlemiss on Twitter: "Good luck to everyone doing the #londonmarathon today hoping it will be me next year!"

    Jeff Partridge on Twitter: "Good luck to Swansea runners Tony Fox and daughter Molly who will be youngest female in today's #londonmarathon."

    Adam Moore on Twitter: "Up watching the marathon hopefully see @Niall_Leung struggling his way round #bbcmarathon."

  65. 0907: 

    And they're off! The elite women racers have just set off and Britain's Liz Yelling has positioned herself nicely at the front of the pack. Race organiser David Bedford has described this year's race as "one of the most talented women's fields we've ever had" and there is foundation for Bedford's claim.

    Four athletes have broken the 2:20 and 17 have run quicker than 2:25 (which was precisely the time of my one and only HALF marathon three years ago\u2026 Don't judge me.) There are five Kenyans and four Ethiopians in the field, all of whom will be jostling to represent their country at this summer's Olympics. Mary Keitany is aiming to defend her title and secure selection for London 2012, while world champion Edna Kiplagat, silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo and Berlin winner Florence Kiplagat all compete in a high-class field.

  66. 0900: 

    Have you managed to get a good spot somewhere on the course? Who are you cheering? I need to know! Don't forget to send your good luck messages, either via Twitter using the hashtag #bbcmarathon or feel free to pop us a text on 81111 with MARATHON before your message, but don't forget to include your name on those text messages otherwise, otherwise... Well, just don't forget.


    Via John on 81111: "Come on Trudy. You've lost over 8 and a half stone in the past year and worked really hard for this. You can win this. We're all watching for you."

  68. 0852: 

    You can watch and listen to the world's biggest one-day fund raising event here on the BBC. Yay! Sue Barker is presenting BBC1 coverage right now, while you can listen to the the stately tones of John Inverdale on BBC Radio 5 live. And if you can't manage to sit through all the action this morning then switch your remote to BBC2 at 1700 BST for today's highlights.

  69. 0845: 

    The weather isn't expected to reach the sweltering temperatures of last year. Halleluiah! I hear some of the runners shout. Clouds like cotton wool are peppering the capital's firmament and "ideal" is how Simon King, 5 live's weather forecaster, describes this morning's conditions.

    "Throughout the morning, the risk of showers increases, especially into the afternoon where some of them could be fairly heavy and significant," adds King (he just loves talking about the weather). "The maximum temperature will reach around 11C and there'll be a moderate westerly wind."

  70. 0842: 

    It's dark clouds and drizzle where I'm sitting at the moment but there seems to be sunshine in London, where Jonathan Edwards is talking to a trio of musicians who will be running with their cellos in tow. "It's the first time we've done a marathon even without cellos," they tell the former triple jumper. Oh, and they sign off the interview by playing 'run rabbit run'. Wonderful!


    Mo Farah on Twitter: "Good luck to everyone running in the London Marathon!!! Go hard or go home...!! Shabba!!"


    From Anna on text: "Go Perry Vlachos, Go!"

    From the Yellow Class at Christ Church School: "Good luck to Miss Balchin!"

  73. 0834: 

    In Blackheath right now limbs are a limbering and muscles are being flexed, water is being guzzled and bananas are being chomped. A man dressed as the Blackpool tower is mixing with the stars of the stage and screen, while the finest runners in the world are preparing for a test of stamina and mental strength like no other on these shores.

    When does it all start? Well, I'll tell you if you want.

    0855 BST: Mini London Marathon starts at Old Billingsgate

    0900 BST: Elite women's race

    0920 BST: Elite wheelchair race for men and women

    0945 BST: Elite men's race, UKA/ England Athletics Championships and mass race

  74. 0828: 

    Over three decades ago London Marathon co-founder Chris Brasher asked whether England's capital city had the "heart and hospitality to welcome the world". Thirty-two years on, and 817,890 runners later, the answer is a resounding Yes. It. Has.

    A very good morning to you, whether you're sitting on the sofa tucking into a hearty bacon sarnie with lashings of tomato sauce or preparing to roar encouragement to the athletes and fun runners set to whiz, trot, walk and limp through the streets of one of the finest cities in the world.