World record number of applicants for 40th London Marathon
A world record 457,861 people have entered the ballot for a place in the 40th London Marathon next year.
The London event is the most popular on Earth and the number of applicants is 43,693 (10.5%) higher than last year when the ballot attracted 414,168 people.
Event director Hugh Brasher said: “This world record reflects the extraordinary inspirational effect of the 39th London Marathon on April 28.
“One of our goals is to inspire people to take up sport and it’s fantastic that more than 210,000 people from the UK have been inspired to apply to run a marathon for the first time in 2020.”
The number of applicants from the UK rose to 373,736, an increase of 25,860 (7.4%) on the 347,876 last year.
The number of people who applied in the international ballot rose to 84,125, up 17,833 (26.9%) on the 66,292 last year.
There was a slight rise in the proportion of ballot entrants who had never run a marathon before – up to 56% from 54% – and the proportion of female entrants rose to 48% from 44%.
Mr Brasher – whose father Chris co-founded the London Marathon with John Disley in 1981 – added: “At the first London Marathon back in 1981, fewer than 300 of the 6,300 finishers were women.
“More than 179,000 women from the UK have applied to run in 2020 and, for the third successive year, there are more female than male first-time marathon runners from the UK (54.4% v 45.6%).”
Fundraising from the 2019 race took the event’s total to more than £1 billion for charitable causes since it began.
“The commitment of more than 75% of our runners to fundraise each year is a part of what makes the London Marathon unique,” Mr Brasher added.
“No other mass participation event comes anywhere near this kind of fundraising.
This year’s charity of the year was Dementia Revolution, a year-long campaign formed by charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Fundraisers included Barbara’s Revolutionaries, a team of runners from EastEnders who took part to honour former cast member Dame Barbara Windsor, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.
The team, which included Dame Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell, raised more than £100,000.
The 2019 race also included a commemorative marker at Mile 18 in memory of Stephen Lawrence, celebrating the life and legacy of the murdered London teenager who was a keen runner.
“The London Marathon continues to have an extraordinary impact that has inspired profound social change,” said Mr Brasher.
“It is an iconic event, recognised as the world’s greatest marathon, and compels people to take up running and to raise millions for charity.
“In addition, The London Marathon Charitable Trust has enabled thousands more to get active through its funding of a huge range of recreational projects.”
The Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on April 26 2020 and the charity of the year is Mencap.
Entrants will be notified of the ballot results in October.