Virgin London Marathon - some facts and figures!

VLM logoIt’s the countdown to the 2012 Virgin London Marathon and things are starting to get are a few interesting facts and figures!

50,200 runners - the number of accepted applicants into this year’s event - will be starting to ease down their physical preparations and step up their mental preparations with just five days to go until one of the greatest races in the sporting calendar.

Did you know that the first ever London Marathon was held on 29 March 1981 with just under 8000 runners (from 20,000 applicants), but with the inaugural event success, that figure grew to over 90,000 applicants in 1982, with the entry limit capped at 18,059?

Over the years the race has continued to grow in size, stature and popularity, and is now shown on television in more than 150 countries. A total of 817,890 runners have completed the London Marathon since it started and a record 36,550 people finished in 2010.

A particularly impressive statistic is that eighteen of those runners have finished every race from the first in 1981 to the 31st on 17 April 2011; they are known as the ‘Ever Presents’.

The informal group was first acknowledged after the 15th London Marathon in 1995, when it numbered 42. They were awarded with a special commemorative medal, a sweatshirt and guaranteed acceptance in future events.

The original 42 have now been whittled down to 18 and they come from all walks of life, different locations and assorted occupations, although many are now retired.

At the top of the list is Chris Finnill who received a Guinness World Record certificate in 2010 for “the most consecutive editions of the same World Marathon Majors marathon completed in under three hours.” His London PB is a brilliant 2:28:27.

This year, the oldest man due to take part is Fauja Singh who is 101 years old, while the oldest woman is Diana Green, aged 77 years. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the youngest runners are Andrew Janssens and Molly Fox who are both 18.

Here are a few other interesting facts, without which, the race might not be the same!

*Finishers’ medals (main race): 37,500

*Goody bag items: 600,000

*Portable toilets: 1,250

*Barriers used in metres: 28,000

*Marshals at the start: 1,100

*Marshals at the finish: 2,500

*St John’s Ambulance volunteers: 1,500

*Petroleum jelly: 250 tubs

*Tables at drink stations: 650

*Plasters: 2,000

*Pubs on the course: 80

*Rubbish bags filled after the race: 3,450.

Already the race week activity is picking up with the world’s press circulating news far and wide.

Media highlights so far include Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls putting his arms around five Conservative MPs outside the Houses of Parliament!

Balls - one of seven Members of Parliament who will set off on from Blackheath on Sunday - is aiming to join the 44 MPs who have also completed the famous London course while serving in the House of Commons.

In addition, more than 20 grassroots sports clubs in west London are celebrating the opening of a newly refurbished pavilion at their home ground today thanks to the London Playing Fields Foundation and a London Marathon grant of almost a third of a million pounds. Read more here.

From the sidelines, many supporters are also limbering up for the big day which is expected to see an estimated one million spectators tune in or watch from the capital’s streets.

One London pub, the Hung, Drawn and Quartered (which stands on an old execution site!) has its preparations well underway and you can hear what they have to say through this short video.

There is of course a serious performance element to this Sunday’s race and as always, outstanding elite fields have been brought together by Race Director David Bedford including defending champions Emmanuel Mutai and Mary Keitany (both Kenya), and arguably the best of the current crop of British marathon runners who are battling it out for the remaining Team GB spots for this summer’s Olympic Games.

Keep up to date with all the race information on the Virgin London Marathon website and remember, if you're running this weekend - and it doesn't have to be London - and you haven't already done so, make sure you claim your free runbritain handicap score now!