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Kenyan champion breaks women’s world record as she wins London Marathon

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A record number of runners are pounding the capital’s streets today as the London Marathon gets under way.

More than 50,000 people, from elite athletes to fancy-dressed fundraising fun runners, are taking part in the 26.2-mile event, which is now in its 44th year.

And for once the weather is on their side with a bright, dry outlook an temperatures remaining relatively cool with highs of around 12C.

Before the start, there was a poignant pause and a 30-second round of applause in memory of last year’s elite men’s race winner Kelvin Kiptum.

Masses of runners leaving the start of the TCS London Marathon (Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA)

The 24-year-old athlete, who set a new London Marathon record of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds last year and a new world record of two hours and 35 seconds in Chicago in October, died in a car accident in Kenya in February.

Then the elite athletes were off, first off the blocks were the wheelchair athletes at 9.05am.

File photo dated 23-04-2023 of Kelvin Kiptum. TCS London Marathon organisers plan to pay tribute to the late Kelvin Kiptum on Sunday with 30 seconds of applause ahead of the elite male race. Issue date: Wednesday April 17, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read John Walton/PA Wire.
The London Marathon paid tribute to the elite athlete Kelvin Kiptum, who died earlier this year (Photo: John Walton/PA)

Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the wheelchair race for the fourth year running, and a fifth time overall, followed by the United States’ Daniel Romanchuk in second place, and Britain’s David Weir in third. The Swiss also proved victorious in the women’s wheelchair race with Catharine Debrunner crossing the line first in one hour, 38 minutes and 54 seconds.

This year’s race is the first time that wheelchair and non-disabled athletes have received the same prize money for a marathon.

Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - April 21, 2024 Switzerland's Marcel Hug celebrates after winning the men's wheelchair race alongside second place Daniel Romanchuk of the U.S. and third place Britain's David Weir REUTERS/Matthew Childs
Switzerland’s Marcel Hug celebrates after winning the men’s wheelchair race alongside second place Daniel Romanchuk of the US and third place Britain’s David Weir(Photo: Matthew Childs/ Reuters)
Catherine Debrunner of Switzerland crosses the finish line to win the women's wheelchair race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)
Catherine Debrunner of Switzerland crosses the finish line to win the women’s wheelchair race at the London Marathon. (Photo: David Cliff/AP)

All four winners of the elite races will receive £44,000, with the runner-up receiving £24,000 and third place £18,000.

Mr Weir, who was racing his 25th consecutive London Marathon, and has won eight times, said he had not expected the change to happen in his lifetime.

Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - April 21, 2024 General view of the participants and spectators on Tower Bridge during the marathon REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
Runners and spectators on Tower Bridge during the London Marathon (Photo: Peter Cziborra/ Reuters)

Jasmin Paris, the first woman to complete the ultra-endurance Barkley Marathons, started the elite women’s race at 9.25am on Sunday before Dame Kelly Holmes, who won two gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, starts the elite men’s race and mass event at 10am.

Kenyan runner Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s race in a women’s-only record time of two hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds, smashing the record by 45 seconds.

Tigst Assefa, from Ethiopia, took second place and fellow Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei came in third.

In the men’s race, it was another Kenyan success as Alexander Mutiso Munyao crossed the line in two hours, four minutes and one second. Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele came second and in third place was Brit Emile Caress, securing a place at the Paris Olympics.

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya reacts after winning the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)
Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya celebrates after winning the women’s race at the London Marathon. (Photo: David Cliff/AP)
Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)
Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya won the men’s race at the London Marathon. (Photo:David Cliff/AP)
Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - April 21, 2024 Kenya's Alexander Mutiso celebrates on the podium with the trophy, a watch and a medal after winning the men's elite race alongside second place Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele and third place Britain's Emile Cairess REUTERS/Matthew Childs
Kenya’s Alexander Mutiso celebrates on the podium with the winner’s trophy, watch and medal alongside second place Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele and third place Britain’s Emile Cairess. (Photo: Matthew Childs/Reuters)

For the rest of the competitors, it was a staggered start from Greenwich Park in south east London between 10am and 11.30am as they made their way past some of the city’s most famous landmarks including the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, the House of Parliament to end up at The Mall by Buckingham Palace.

Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - April 21, 2024 Britain's Russ Cook and Yasmin Mahamud in action during the marathon REUTERS/John Sibley
‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook, pictured running in the marathon today, will be adding another 26.2 miles to his tally this year (Photo: John Sibley/Reuters)

Among the mass of participants this year are 20 MPs and peers, the most in the event’s history, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Thangam Debbonaire (Labour’s shadow secretary of state for culture and sport), Tory peer Lord James Bethell and former health secretary turned reality star Matt Hancock.

Event director Hugh Brasher said the event will be “more inclusive than before” with support for more than 200 disabled participants as well as a faith space and a quiet space for neurodivergent participants in the finish area.

There are female urinals, sanitary products available and a family support section which includes a private breastfeeding area.

It has become the largest annual one-day fundraising event in the world, last year’s marathon raised £63 million for thousands of charities, and this year is expected to be no exception.

David Weir leaves the start of the wheelchair race during the TCS London Marathon. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Paralympian David Weir is among the elite athletes taking part in the TCS London Marathon again this year (Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA)

Comedian and presenter Romesh Ranganathan is running for suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably, the day after starting his new Radio 2 Saturday morning show, taking over from Claudia Winkleman.

Other comedians swapping stand up for keep up include Rosie Jones, Ivo Graham, Maisie Adams and Joel Dommett.

Golden Globe-winning actor Ruth Wilson is running and raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Former Olympic rower and veteran marathon runner James Cracknell is also taking part.

Undated handout photo issued by Calm of the actor and comedian Romesh Ranganathan, who is a patron of the mental health charity Calm, is running the TCS London Marathon on April 21 to raise funds and awareness. He will run as part of the charity's team which includes Natalie Clements, whose brother Aaron died by suicide, and Luke Remfry who had suicidal thoughts when he felt "lost" following the breakdown of a relationship. Issue date: Wednesday April 3, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ Ranganathan. Photo credit should read: Harvey Aspell/Calm/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Comedian Romesh Ranganathan, patron of the mental health charity Calm, is also taking part in the TCS London Marathon. (Photo: Harvey Aspell/Calm/PA )
Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - April 21, 2024 Rosie Jones and Ivo Graham in action during the marathon REUTERS/John Sibley
Comedians Rosie Jones and Ivo Graham in action during the London Marathon. (Photo: John Sibley/Reuters)
James Cracknell after finishing the the TCS London Marathon. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Former Olympic rower James Cracknell completes the TCS London Marathon. (Photo: John Walton /PA)

Mikey Hoszowskyj, the son-in-law of TV presenter and actress Kym Marsh, is running the marathon for Prostate Cancer UK in honour of his wife’s grandfather, Dave Marsh.

EastEnders actors Emma Barton and Jamie Borthwick will be running as their television characters Honey and Jay.

McFly drummer Harry Judd, former Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston and singer Tom Grennan have also donned trainers to take part.

Harry Judd after finishing the the TCS London Marathon. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2024. PA Photo. A record number of people are taking part in the London Marathon in what has been billed as its most inclusive year yet. More than 50,000 people are running the 26.2-mile course through the capital on what is a dry and bright day with highs of 12C expected. See PA story CHARITY Marathon. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
McFly’s Harry Judd completed the marathon in three hours and 20 minutes. (Photo: credit John Walton/PA) Wire
The London Marathon snakes through the Capital from the south to the north of the River Thames. (Image: TCS London Marathon)

One of those running for Young Lives vs Cancer is Phil Dunster, best known for his role as Jamie Tartt in Ted Lasso. Mr Dunster is running in memory of his cousin’s four-month-old son Rory, who died from medulloblastoma, a type of cancerous brain tumour.

Former hostage Anoosheh Ashoori, 70, who was detained for nearly five years at Evin prison in Iran, is fundraising for Hostage International in what will be his third London Marathon since his release in March 2022.

“I think I’m still stuck in the 1970s rather than being 70, and I am very excited about the marathon,” he said, adding: “I used to run with my friends in Evin prison, so sometimes I feel they are here with me, running by my side.”

Among the costumed runners is a man attempting to run the fastest marathon in a rhino outfit to raise awareness for the animals.

On the course, David McNab told news agency PA the current rhino record stands at four hours six minutes.

A competitor dressed as a Minion as runners leave the start of the TCS London Marathon. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
A competitor dressed as a Minion as runners leave the start of the TCS London Marathon (Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA)
Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - April 21, 2024 A participant dressed as a squirrel in action during the marathon REUTERS/John Sibley
A participant dressed as a squirrel in action during the marathon. (Photo: John Sibley/Reuters)
A competitor dressed as an aeroplane in Blackheath before the TCS London Marathon. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
One runner ready for take off, dressed as an aeroplane, at the start of the marathon in Blackheath. (Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA)
A competitor dressed as a fire engine in Blackheath before the TCS London Marathon. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2024. PA Photo. A record number of people are taking part in the London Marathon in what has been billed as its most inclusive year yet. More than 50,000 people are running the 26.2-mile course through the capital on what is a dry and bright day with highs of 12C expected. See PA story CHARITY Marathon. Photo credit should read: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
One runner chose to take part as a fire engine in this year’s TCS London Marathon. (Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA)

And endurance running expert Russ Cook, known as ‘Hardest Geezer‘ after finishing running the entire length of Africa on 7 April , will take part in support of the Running Charity.

Unlike the extreme condition Hardest Geezer faced in Africa, the Met Office said London Marathon runners can expect sunshine, dry weather and top temperatures of around 12C today.

Meteorologist Rebecca Mitchell said there was a “very small chance” there could be a “light shower” at some point during the morning, but added: “It should stay dry throughout the marathon.

She said: “We’ve got quite a lot of sunshine to start the day with then a little bit of fair-weather cloud developing throughout the morning and into the afternoon but otherwise, quite a nice day.”

She added: “Waterproofs shouldn’t be necessary tomorrow, so that’s one less thing to worry about.”

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