A sunny spring morning provided the perfect setting for a memorable 31st renewal of the Virgin London Marathon. 35,000 plus runners, carrots, leprechauns and fairies made their way through the streets of the capital enjoying the rousing support of the hundreds of thousands who lined the route and enthralling the millions who watched on television.
Emmanuel Mutai threw off his bridesmaid tag in remarkable style to win the men's race in a course record time of 2:04:40, the fourth fastest time in the history of the event. Earlier Mary Keitany (2:19:19) had become the quickest marathon woman since 2005 to ensure that 2011 would be a vintage marathon year.
Mutai, all grace and high-kicking athleticism, turned in a superb display of endurance running and put down a marker for next year's Olympics as did Keitany who upset favourite Liliya Shobukhova and defied sceptics who suggested the marathon was a bridge too far for the Kenyan.
2010 men's winner and late stand-in Martin Lel (2:05:45) thrilled spectators when producing a sprint to the line that saw him edge out Patrick Makau for second place.
British performances were mixed. Jo Pavey (2:28:39) was first British woman in 18th while Louise Damen clocked 2:29:59. Both were making their debuts at the distance and will be encouraged by their runs. However there will be massive disappointment for Liz Yelling and also for a below par Andrew Lemoncello (2:15:24) who was four minutes outside of target.
Wheelchair racer David Weir won his fifth London Marathon title in 1:30:05.
The 2011 Virgin London Marathon was also a memorable one for Sheffield anaesthetist Jon Morgan, 43 who became the fastest cartoon character after completing the course as Fred Flintstone in 2:46.59. Jon who dyed his hair black and carried a plastic club beat the weather to make it in to the record books. Check out whether Jon has managed to reach his £2,000 target for the charity of his choice - the Neuroblastoma Society at his online fundraising page.
Results for the 2011 Virgin London Marathon here.