There are few bigger races in the world than the London Marathon, an event where thousands of ordinary people literally follow in the footsteps of the planet’s elite runners.
So it proved again on October 2nd this year, with Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia becoming the youngest woman to win the event and Kenyan Amos Kipruto winning the men’s race. Both were running the London marathon for the first time.
The same may have been true for many of the 40,000 runners taking part, be they top athletes, charity runners or simply people aiming at the distance run achievement of a lifetime.
As well as those taking part, millions more watched the event from the streets of London, knew someone involved or watched the coverage on TV. Many will have done more than just admire the feats of the elite athletes or the efforts of those running a distance they might never have accomplished before; they may also have been inspired to take up running themselves.
The ballot for 2023 London Marathon places has already taken place, although charity spots are still up for grabs, with the race returning to its traditional April slot. However, it is not just the big race around the streets of the capital that might have inspired people,
On the same day tens of thousands were running by the banks of the Thames, the banks of the Dee saw the Chester Metric Marathon being run, while seven days later the Manchester Half Marathon took place.
Whether it is while wearing Nike limited edition trainers or any other running shoes, those inspired by the efforts of friends or family to have a go themselves may be keen to start training as soon as they can and with good reason, for many of the events held in October have only been so because of the effects of the pandemic.
That is why the London Marathons of 2021 and 2022 were so late in the year but it is not just the big race in the capital that is moving to April. The 2022 Great Manchester Run was ahead in being held in May this year after an October race in 2021. But the Manchester Marathon will give runners in the city their next big challenge in April.
The good thing about starting in the autumn is that runners will avoid both the difficulty of running in the heat that the sizzling summer just past would have brought, while also not starting training when the cold winter weather might be a deterrent and the surfaces dangerously icy, both factors that could stop a new runner getting into a good routine.
Big races will be taking place all over the country in 2023, whether it is the big city Marathons of London and Manchester, or somewhere small like Chester, the Great North Run on Tyneside next September, a Midlands event like the Great Birmingham Run in May or the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow.
With so many events across the UK, there will be lots of chance to enter a big race. With the right running shoes, now is the time to get training.