Over 50,000 runners of all levels have been accepted to take part in the world’s biggest marathon event
EVERY year the roads around the city of London are closed off for the biggest mass participation sporting event in the world – the London Marathon.
The world’s best long distance runners join around 50,000 fun runners every 12 months looking to overcome the challenge of the 26mile course.
This year promises to be one of the biggest yet as hundreds of thousands line the route to cheer on participants – many of whom raise millions for charity.
SunSport takes a look at the London Marathon and all you need to know about one of the highlights of the British sporting year.
What is the London Marathon?
The London Marathon was first staged in 1981, the brainchild of former Olympic champion Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley.
Inspired by the New York Marathon the pair set out to deliver a similar event on the streets of the British capital – and since then it has grown to become the biggest mass participation sporting event in the world.
More than 20,000 applied to take part in the first race, although 6,747 were accepted of whom 6,255 finished.
Over 50,000 have been accepted to take park in the 2017 race, although organisers expect of that number around 38,000 will actually start.
When is the 2017 London Marathon?
The 2017 London Marathon will be held on Sunday 23 April, with the mass race due to start at 10am.
Each year the race is split into separate categories to release wheelchair participants, elite men and elite women at different start times.
The mini-marathon – three mile races for youth runners – start first, followed by the Para Athletics race and then the elite women.
The elite men will start at the same time as the mass race, which also acts as the British Athletics and England Athletics Championship.
When did the 2017 London Marathon ballot close?
The public ballot entry system for the 2017 London Marathon has now closed.
The ballot opened on Monday 2 May and closed at 17:00 on Friday 6 May 2016.
The ballot was open for five days to give everyone who wanted to enter the event a fair chance to do so.
The results of the ballot for the 2017 race were announced in October 2016.
When does the ballot for entering the 2018 London Marathon open?
Organisers are yet to confirm the time and date of the entry ballot for the 2018 London Marathon, although in previous years the ballot has open the day after the race and has stayed open for five days.
Further information can be found on the official London Marathon site
What is the route of the London Marathon?
The London Marathon is run over a predominantly flat course over a distance of 26 miles 385 yaerds.
The course begins at three different starts around Greenwich Park and Blackheath in south-east London.
The ‘red start’ is in Greenwich Park, the ‘green start’ in St John’s Park and the ‘blue start’ on Shooter’s Hill Road.
Runners then head out east through Charlton then Woolwich before turning back towards the city, taking in the Cutty Sark in Greenwich after six miles.
They then head through Deptford, Surrey Quays and Bermondsey along Jamaica RRoad before they cross the River Thames for the only time using Tower Bridge at the half-way point.
Competitors then turn east through Wapping and Mudchute before racing around Canary Wharf and then back towards the City.
They pass Tower Bridge and the Tower of London running along Upper and Lowe Thames Street, heading towards the final two miles along the Embankment.
Athletes then turn right into Birdcage Walk for the final dash to the finish line along The Mall with Buckingham Palace the scenic backdrop.
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