Clean sweep for Africa on Marathon’s 30th
Not even the April showers could dampen the spirits of the thousands of runners who competed in the 30th Virgin London Marathon 2010. By 7pm this evening, 36,549 had crossed the finish line in The Mall after Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, had set a record 36,984 on their way from Greenwich, the largest field ever in the 30th year of the event.
There were emotional scenes as athletes realised the fruits of their efforts when they finally crossed the finishing line. For some the pain was to much too bare and for others the 26 plus miles looked like a stroll in the park.
Kenya’s dominance in the men’s elite competition was brushed aside by Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, who won in a time of two hours, five minutes and 19 seconds after passing Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai, the runner-up with the ‘evergreen’ Moroccan Jaouad Gharib was third for the second year in a row in 2:06:55.
There was one Royal winner, in Princess Beatrice, who crossed the line in 5:13:03 as part of a 34-person human caterpillar, claiming a Guinness World Record for the most linked runners to run a marathon.
The chain also included Sam and Holly Branson, Sir Richard’s children. Sir Richard himself crossed the line 5:02:24 surrounded by his team of celebrities who include legendary distance runner Tegla Loroupe and Natalie Imbruglia.
Other celebs included Ricky Whittle,
Michelle Ryan (pictured) and Michelle Heaton; Heaton collapsed on the finishing line and received treatment from the St Johns ambulance.