29/3/81: first London marathon
On Sunday 29 March 1981, the very first London Marathon took place. It had been organised and directed by Christopher Brasher, a former sports editor for The Observer newspaper.
After taking part in the 1979 New York Marathon, Brasher convinced himself that London could do what New York had done. Within a year, he had achieved the far more difficult task of convincing the police and the relevant London boroughs. He had hoped for 4,000 runners on the big day in March 1981; in the event, more than 7,000 started from Greenwich Park - and most made it to the finish outside Buckingham Palace.
A 25lb cannon was fired to start the race in Greenwich Park at 9am. Some two hours, 11 minutes and 48 seconds later the marathon finished in a tie with American Dick Beardsley and Norwegian Inge Simonsen crossed the finish line at Constitution Hill.
source: guardian archives, virginmoneylondonmarathon.com