Sunday’s London Marathon will not only see the race welcome its one millionth finisher but witness a new fundraising record, with £25 million set to be reached via Virgin Money Giving before Sunday. If such a target is hit, the 2016 event will have raised £3 million more than it did last year.
Jo Barnett, at Virgin Money Giving said: “London Marathon is hoping to set a fundraising world record for the tenth successive year in 2016. We’re delighted to be contributing towards that and with just under a week to go, our data shows that our fundraisers are set to smash our previous record and raise over £25 million for charity.”
The upcoming race marks the 36th anniversary of the marathon, which was first staged on 29 March, 1981. Since then, the race has become one of the most popular in the world, with over 125,000 ballot applications received for the event.
As ever, the competition at the front of the field will be fierce with 2015 champion Eliud Kipchoge looking to defend his title. The Kenyan will be up against compatriots Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang. Likely to challenge this triumvirate is Kenenisa Bekele and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie.
After such a dramatic victory last year, Tigist Tufa will be seeking to defend her title in the women’s field. The Ethiopian clinched a surprising victory over two-time champion Mary Keitany, with Tufa showing incredible speed over the last three miles to claim her biggest win of her career. Tufa will once again face a formidable number of Kenyan runners, including Priscah Jeptoo, firmly in contention.
With Olympic places up for grabs and a number of renowned international athletes yet to set the qualifying standard, a surprise might just be on the cards.