8 Apr

Running For Parliament

Ed Balls

A record nine Members of Parliament will run the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 13 April this year, including six frontbenchers from the House of Commons, the most ever in the 33-year history of the event.

This year’s lobby of marathon MPs includes five from the Labour Party, all shadow ministers, plus four Conservatives.

Among them will be Jim Murphy, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, who was the fastest MP last year when he finished in 3 hours 31 minutes 44 seconds, making him the eighth quickest parliamentarian in London Marathon history.

The Scot, then Shadow Defence Secretary, finished almost two hours ahead of his colleague, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who knocked more than 15 minutes from his 2012 time when he crossed the line in 5:14:13.

Balls is back to run his third London Marathon in three years, and this time will be joined by three more colleagues – Dan Jarvis, Shadow Justice Minister, who clocked 3:46:41 last year, plus two debutants, Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, and Sadiq Khan, Shadow Justice Secretary.

Jarvis is running his second London Marathon as an MP, his fourth in total. He hopes to dip under 3:30 this time and give Murphy a run for his money. The 41-year-old Barnsley Central MP will run with his 69-year-old father, Bernard, a veteran of 68 marathons, and in memory of his wife Caroline who died of bowel cancer in 2010.

Alun Cairns, the member for Vale of Glamorgan, was quickest of the Conservative MPs in 2013, clocking 3:39:41 to beat his 2012 time by more than 20 minutes. He returns to lead the Conservative challenge in 2014, backed by three fellow Tories, all of whom have completed the course in the last few years.

Based on previous times, Edward Timpson could be challenging Cairns for the honour of being the fastest blue. The Minister for Children and Families broke four hours in 2012 and is the most experienced marathon runner in the 2014 MPs’ line-up with four successful London Marathons behind him.

His Tory colleagues – Graham Evans, MP for Weaver Vale, and Jason McCartne, MP for Colne Valley – have both finished in under five hours in recent years.