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Over 37,000 take part in biggest ever London Marathon

Around 37,800 fund raisers, amateur runners and elite athletes participated in the Virgin Money London Marathon today, making it the biggest in the event's 35-year history.

World record holder Paula Radcliffe, 41, completed her final competitive marathon in an unofficial time of 2:36:55.

David and Victoria Beckham were among an estimated 750,000 spectators who lined the streets of the capital.

They cheered on their 12-year-old son Romeo, who completed the mini marathon.

Radcliffe took part in the main event with the massed ranks rather than the elite field.

Her women's marathon world record of 2:15:25, set in London in 2003, is almost three minutes faster than any other woman has ever run.

After crossing the finish line today, she told the BBC: "I didn't care about the time the whole way round. I was so tired.

"I wanted to try and thank as many people as possible."

She added: "You can't come to the London Marathon and not give it an honest effort."

Romeo completed the Mini London Marathon, which takes place over the final three miles of the full course, in 18 minutes and 54 seconds.

He was raising money for UNAIDS, the joint United Nations programme on Aids, and his father's Unicef 7 fund.

His parents both wore white T-shirts in support of their son.

Guinness World Records achieved

- The fastest marathon in a nurse's uniform was run in 2:46:48 by Neil Casey

- The fastest marathon dressed as a lifeguard was 2:55:54 and was achieved by Terry Midgley

- Lee Ryan achieved the fastest marathon carrying a 20lb pack, clocking up a time of 2:56:39

- Adam Jones ran the fastest marathon dressed as a leprechaun, completing it in a time of 2:59:30

- The fastest marathon dressed as a boxer was run in 3:08:00 and was achieved by Joe Elliott

- Subhashis Basu earned the record for fastest marathon run in a cricket uniform, clocking a time of 3:20:46

- Neil Light earned his record by crossing the line in 3:09:28 to become the fastest runner dressed as a video game character - Sonic the Hedgehog.


Victoria also sported a leather jacket and grey jeans, while David wore a light jacket, dark jeans and a black beanie hat.

Conditions were reasonably good for the runners, with patchy rain and mild temperatures on a gloomy day in the capital.

British wheelchair athlete David Weir's bid for a record seventh Virgin Money London Marathon title ended in disappointment as he was pipped to the line by American Joshua George.

In the men's elite race, Eliud Kipchoge won a titanic tussle with fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, crossing the finish line in 2:04:42.

Ethiopia's Tigist Tufa ended Kenya's domination of the women's race with a shock victory in a time of 2:23:22.

Organisers expected around 37,800 runners to start the race this year, compared with the previous record of 37,227 in 2012.

Prince Harry was presenting medals to the winners of the elite races and meeting volunteers and members of the St John Ambulance.

Five politicians took time off from defending their House of Commons seats in the General Election campaign to pound the streets of London.

The four Conservatives were minister for children and families Edward Timpson, Wales Office minister Alun Cairns, Graham Evans and Richard Drax.

Labour was represented by shadow justice minister Dan Jarvis.

A host of celebrities also tackled the famous 26.2-mile course.

They included Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, TV presenter Jenni Falconer, Formula One driver Jenson Button, Radio 1 DJ Greg James, fashion designer Henry Holland, Made In Chelsea star Oliver Proudlock and US model Christy Turlington Burns.

Evans only announced today that he was taking part in the marathon.

"I just thought it was quite interesting to see if you can train for a marathon in secret, get away with it and maybe get round," he told the BBC.

When asked if he was aiming to finish in a particular time, he replied: "My plan is to get here, get round, get to see my wife and kids, get to the pub, get home and get on the radio tomorrow. That is it."

Falconer said she was proud to be raising money for charity at the event.

"You've got to remember who you're running for," she told the BBC. "I'm running for Cancer Research UK. There's a huge team of us out there.

"If you hammer that home in times of pain, when you're walking and struggling, just remember who you're running for."

The oldest entrant was Paul Freedman, 90, from Hornchurch, Essex, while the youngest was Jonny Innes from Falmouth, Cornwall, who celebrated his 18th birthday today.

Guinness received more than 100 requests from entrants attempting a new world record. These ranged from the fastest marathon wearing high heels to the quickest time dressed as a framed painting.

The races started at Blackheath and Greenwich Park with the finish line on The Mall.

Some £53.2 million was raised for good causes at last year's event.

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