23.Apr.12 Nell McAndrew smashes three hour marathon mark
Qualified group leader Nell McAndrew, who told Run England last week that she hoped to break three hours at the Virgin London Marathon, achieved this impressive feat and then some, finishing in a time of 2:54:39.
Nell, who took an England Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness course earlier in the year with a view to setting up a running group, took to the streets of the capital alongside up to 37,500 participants, but proved she is faster than your average celebrity!
After the marathon, Nell spoke to Run England: "I am so happy! I'm desperate for sponsors, begging Simon Cowell to sponsor me! I'm struggling to raise money so desparate for someone like Simon to come to my rescue! Me and the team of 1200 Cancer Research UK's running team need support. Help us to help Cancer Research UK in their fight against cancer. My dad is one of the survivors. He was 60 last Friday and we never thought he would make it to live until then. It's been a really emotional day. Really proud!
"The Run England course boosted my confidence and was a great experience to be able to help me to encourage as many people as possible to start running!" she said.
A host of other celebrities including Jenni Falconer, Iwan Thomas, Ed Balls MP, James Cracknell and three of the cast of The Only Way is Essex also took part!
The women's elite race was won by Kenya's Mary Keitany in a Kenyan Record of 2:18:37, making her the third fastest female marathon runner ever! Her compatriot Wilson Kipsang won the men's race in 2:04:44, while Lee Merrien and Claire Hallissey were the first Brits to cross the line in new personal bests of 2:13:41 and 2:27:44 - the latter putting Hallissey in a strong position to join Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi in Team GB's Olympic marathon team.
David Weir equalled Tanni Grey-Thompson's record of six titles by winning the the wheelchair race in an exciting sprint finish with 1:32:26 while fellow Brit Shelly Woods celebrated her second London Wheelchair Marathon victory with 1:49:10.
There were 29 weird and wonderful Guinness World Record attempts - including David Lawrenson who added 2ft 2in to his Blackpool Tower costume at the last minute to make it 26ft 2in tall - matching the number of miles in the marathon - and smash the record for the fastest marathon in the tallest costume with 7:00:19.
Run England member Claire Lomas, who is taking on the Virgin London Marathon in a pioneering robotic suit after being paralysed from the waist down in an eventing accident (story here), is still out on the course. She completed 2.25 miles yesterday and is back on the course today and hoping to get to five miles by the end of the day and expects to take up to three weeks to finish, which would be an incredible achievement. Come on Claire!
Well done to everyone who took part! If you're inspired and want to take up running, or took part and want to get into more regular running and improve, join Run England - the nation's official recreational running community. It's free, secure, and there are special offers on running shoes and kit for members. Just fill in the one-page sign up form, then find your nearest running group!