London Marathon 2022: Race begins as capital welcomes 42,000 runners

The London Marathon kicked off on Sunday morning as around 42,000 runners descended on the capital for the world-famous event.

The race was started by Lionesses Leah Williamson, Ellen White and Jill Scott, from England’s Uefa Women’s Euro 2022 winning team.

Elite runners were are the start of the pack followed by the rest of the public running for their respective charities.

Among the famous faces taking part are expected to be actors Cynthia Erivo and Stephen Mangan and reality TV star turned presenter Mark Wright, who was forced to drop out last year due to injury.

Runners started near Blackheath in Greenwich and will pass famous landscapes such as the Cutty Sark, the Shard, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament before reaching the finish line at the Mall by Buckingham Palace.

Brigid Kosgei, who won the women’s race in 2019 and 2020, has pulled out due to injury this year.

For the men, Kenya’s Titus Ekiru, is expected to be among the top contenders after impressive showings in Milan and Abu Dhabi last year.

Ahead of the race a man who was diagnosed with prostate cancer following a routine health screening will run the marathon dressed as Darth Vader.

Simon Best, 59, said he is not expecting to match his previous marathon times so decided to make the event more "fun" by wearing a costume.

Mr Best, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was diagnosed with stage two prostate cancer in February 2021 and is running to raise money for the charity Prostate Cancer UK, which he said has provided him with "fantastic help".

A blood PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test carried out as part of annual health check in December 2020 showed Mr Best had a slightly elevated reading and an MRI scan and biopsy confirmed the diagnosis.

Mr Best, who is retired, had no symptoms and said it was easy to see why prostate cancer is called the silent killer.

"I am just feeling lucky that I had it picked up so soon, otherwise things could have been a lot worse," he said.

Fellow runner, Simon Phillips, 44, will take part dressed as Big Ben in aid of the charity in memory of his father, Robert, who died with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

“I ran the London Marathon in 2016 and loved it, I decided if I ever ran it again I would do it in a costume,” the father-of-three said.

“I asked the team at Alzheimer’s Research UK for costume ideas and when they said they had the famous Big Ben costume I jumped at the chance to run in it.

“I’ve made a few adjustments mainly to make it more comfortable to wear and more stable, but I’ve also made it even bigger, adding a flagpole at the top.”