How far is the London Marathon in km? 2022 course distance and why it changed to 26.2 miles from 1908 Olympics
Around 50,000 runners are expected to descend on the United Kingdom’s capital city for the 41st edition of the famous race.
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The 2022 London Marathon takes place this weekend in what is due to be the final autumn running of the race for the foreseeable future.
Since the third edition of the event in 1983 it has traditionally been run in April but this will be the third consecutive year that it takes place in October after the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 Marathon.
The 2023 London Marathon is expected to return in the traditional spring slot.
Although the race is only just over 40-years old, it was not the first long distance running event to be held in London with similar events dating back over a century.
Here is everything you need to know about how long the current London Marathon is as well as its history:
How long is the 2022 London Marathon in kilometres?
Like all official marathon events, the London Marathon runs over a distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles 385 yards)
That distance is the global standard for a race to be considered a marathon.
The current record time to complete the London Marathon was set by Eliud Kipchoge, who claimed three wins in four years before breaking the record with a 2:02:37 time in 2019.
The average time to complete the marathon, per statistics from the 2019 event, for male finishers was 3 hours 48 minutes and for a female was 4 hours 23 minutes.
History of marathon running in London
The London Marathon was first run in the 1980s, but it was certainly not the first marathon race to take part in the English capital.
The Polytechnic Marathon, known as the Poly, was first run in 1909 and took place for just shy of a century before it was last ran in 1996.
It was the first marathon to be run regularly over the now global standard distance of 26 miles, 385 yards and a total of eight world marathon bests were set throughout the early years of the race.
However, the introduction of the London Marathon and other similarly popular races as well as constant forced changes to the routes saw the popularity of the Poly decline.
When did 26.2 miles become the Olympic standard marathon distance?
A meeting of the International Olympic Committee and the British Olympic Association was held in 1907 and it was agreed that the 1908 Olympics would include a marathon of about 25 miles.
That distance eventually became the origin of the modern Marathon distance of “no less than 42.195 km”
American runner Johnny Hayes took the gold medal at the 1908 Olympics when he completed the marathon in a time of 2:55:18.4, which was a new Olympic record at the time.
The 1908 Olympics are widely credited with launching the global popularity of marathons, and many other races adopted the distance including the Poly which was launched in the aftermath of the games.
From that point on, either the Poly or the London Marathon has been run in England’s capital city every year for over a century.