Queen kick-starts London Marathon as Mo eyes record

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The Queen has kick-started the 38th annual London Marathon in what could be the race’s hottest year on record.

At 10am, the Queen started the event from Windsor Castle by pressing the traditional red button – sending more than 40,000 runners out on to the streets of the capital.

Sweltering highs of 23C (73.4F) are possible throughout the day, forcing organisers to advise runners to rethink their fancy dress plans and drop their target finish times.

More ice, water and run-through shower stations have also been positioned along the 26.2 mile course, which will be lined with around 800,000 spectators.

Among the runners to have set off from Blackheath are firefighters who tackled the Grenfell Tower blaze, a police officer who was stabbed during the London Bridge terror attack, and members of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust on what is the 25th anniversary of the teenager’s murder.

Ethiopa's Tirunesh Dibaba takes a drink during the women's elite race
Image: Ethiopa’s Tirunesh Dibaba takes a drink during the women’s elite race

The course will take runners along both sides of the Thames, with the finish line on The Mall near Buckingham Palace.

Prince Harry, who is patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, will be there to cheer people on.

Not everyone has taken the advice about the heat on board, with almost 100 runners bidding to secure a place in the Guinness World Records by dressing in suits of armour, wearing stilts and ski boots, and dressing up as a variety of mythical creatures.

Ethiopa's Tirunesh Dibaba takes a drink during the women's elite race
Image: Ethiopa’s Tirunesh Dibaba takes a drink during the women’s elite race

And Sir Mo Farah will certainly not be adjusting his target finish time, with the four-time Olympic champion aiming to set a new British marathon record.

It is the 35-year-old’s first race over this distance since shifting his concentration from the track to road events, but he has set the ambitious goal of beating Steve Jones’ time of two hours, seven minutes and 13 seconds from back in 1975.

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Organisers hope another record to tumble will be how much the event raises for charity, with it having registered a new high for an annual one-day fundraising event last year with £61.5m.

The annual race has raised £890m in total since 1981 and continues to grow in popularity, with 386,050 people applying to take part this year – almost a third more than in 2017 and the highest number for any marathon in the world.

From – SkyNews

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