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Rain holds off for runners and spectators at the 35th London Marathon

Displays of superhero-like feats at the London Marathon today. Pic: Katie Rogers

Displays of superhero-like endurance at the London Marathon today. Pic: Katie Rogers

Despite a forecast to the contrary, the rain held off today for the biggest London Marathon in the event’s history.

Organisers reported that over 38,000 competitors took part in the event.

Temperatures remained cool throughout the day as Kenyan runners dominated the elite men’s race.

Eliud Kipchoge won the men’s race in 02:04:42, with second and third places going to fellow countrymen Wilson Kipsang and world record holder Dennis Kimetto.

Following along behind were the ‘masses’ – the amateur runners racing for clubs and charities that have made today’s event the largest to date.

Chris Kelly, who ran his first marathon today, spoke of his relief at the lack of rain and some of the harder points of his run:

Yes, luckily it didn’t rain on us, although it was a little colder than I would have liked!

The hardest point for me was definitely around mile 14…at that point I had a moment where I doubted I would finish.

I realised I needed to do something, anything, to get me through the next stage, so downed an entire bottle of sports drink…which left me feeling sick for the next 2 miles.

After that though, the energy kicked in and I made it through the rest of the race.

My first thought after crossing the finish line? I wanted to faint.

Chris Kelly raised over £2000 for the charity Shelter, finishing with a time of 3:19:36.

LMMN reporter Katie Rogers gives her personal account of her day as a Marathon spectator:

As I left the house this morning, I asked my family to not let me ever try and enter the London Marathon, in case I returned invigorated by the atmosphere, and full of hubris.

Whilst the look of anguish on the some of the hobbling runners was not enough to entice me to sign up for the 2016 ballot, there was no way to avoid feeling impressed and inspired.

I arrived across Southwark Bridge just in time to see the first of the ‘masses’, those going for under three hour times. At the 23 mile mark, I knew I would be cheering on those who had already come so far, but still had the final push to go.

The early trickle of sinewy, hardened men became a steady stream, with the first few female competitors triumphantly overtaking on the outside. This gave way to a river of runners, each in a different stage of their own personal battles.

It probably seemed like a great idea to raise money for charity by running the London Marathon dressed as Captain America, or a Minion, or as a leprechaun. It was probably still quite funny around the 4 mile mark, but seemed to be less amusing to those 23 miles into the race.

A man shuffled along with a bloodied nose, presumably from a fall further back. Another fell in agony next to some race marshalls, motioning at his left thigh. After some frantic rubbing and stretching, he rose up to a roar of support from the crowd and continued on his way.

A moment of agony - eventually overcome as the runner continued on his way. Pic: Katie Rogers

A moment of agony – eventually overcome as the runner continued on his way. Pic: Katie Rogers

There is nothing glamorous about running a marathon. James Cracknell and Jensen Button passed the 23 mile mark within a minute of each other, but there was little fanfare as the celebrity faces blended in amongst the other equally pained expressions.

Those runners who had cleverly written their name on their shirt were cheered along by well-wishing strangers.

Every now and then, there would be a flurry of excitement from a group of spectators who recognised a family member or friend, and a weary runner would momentarily burst into a smile and perhaps manage a thankful wave.

Every individual pounding the road today had their own reason for being there, their own internal monologue and demons to fight.

I saw some people hit the wall headfirst, some suddenly find a reserve of energy and a few strange human beings who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.

Today was also the final London Marathon for three-time winner Paula Radcliffe, who raced the course for the last time competitively after having serious foot surgery in 2012.

She finished today with a time of 2:36:55.

Paula Radcliffe looking strong during her final competitive London Marathon. pic: Katie Rogers

Paula Radcliffe looking strong during her final competitive London Marathon. pic: Katie Rogers

The oldest contestant that ran today was 90-year-old Paul Freedman, who has taken part in every London Marathon since 1991, except 2004 when he was recovering from a heart attack.

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