Sir Mo Farah has begun his bid to win a first London Marathon this morning.
Britain’s four-time Olympic champion, who called time on his track career to focus on road running in 2017, came third last year and appeared to be struggling at the halfway point on Sunday – falling away from the leading pack.
Farah’s preparations have been marred by an extraordinary row with former distance star Haile Gebrselassie over an alleged robbery in the hotel owned by the retired Ethiopian.
The 36-year-old is up against world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, the Olympic champion who holds the course record and is looking for a fourth win in five years.
Farah, wearing a competitor’s jersey saying ‘Sir Mo’, runs alongside the other elite men during the race on Sunday morning
Sir Mo has had a turbulent buildup to this year’s marathon after an extraordinary row with former distance star Haile Gebrselassie over an alleged robbery in the hotel owned by the retired Ethiopian
Former BBC Radio 2 host Chris Evans on the starting line wearing sunglasses as he prepares to take on the mammoth challenge
Runners turned out in an array of fancy dress as they took on the race. Left: A runner dressed as a clown. Right: Another competitor dressed as Spiderman
Mo Farah (pictured on the startline today) is hoping to win the Elite Men’s race in the London Marathon today
The feud between Farah and Gebrselassie deepened earlier this week after he hit the Ethiopian double gold medalist with a new £9,000 compensation bill.
Sir Mo, 36, claimed he had been the victim of robbery while staying at the resort, but Gebrselassie said he had left without settling his bill after attacking two other athletes – Sisay Tsegaye and his wife Dagmawit Kibiru.
Sir Mo’s coach Gary Lough then said the athlete had been acting in self-defence.
Farah instructed his lawyers to demand the money after his watch and cash were stolen from a hotel owned by Gebrselassie.
But the Ethiopian double Olympic gold medalist hit back saying: ‘I beat him in a race. I don’t even know where he finished then. He still cannot win against me today.’
Farah has sent a claim through Ethiopian lawyers demanding 323,451.48 Birr (£9241) for the loss of his valuables.
Gebrselassie showed off the legal claim as well as the text message Farah sent him warning him he was going to alert the media to the incident.
Farah duly told a London Marathon press conference on Wednesday about the hotel room theft and revealed he believed Gebrselassie had not paid the matter the attention it deserved.
Sir Mo Farah (centre) runs alongside the other elite competitors in this year’s race as he begins the Marathon on Sunday morning
Scores of runners jostle for position on the crowded startline of the men’s elite race in Greenwich Park
Former world number one tennis great Andy Murray standing on the start line on Sunday morning
Pace runners run alongside regular competitors to provide them a gauge for what speed they should be running
Sir Mo Farah applauds as organisers announce the start of the race and prepare to fire the starting gun on the 39th edition of the famous race
Forecasters believe this year’s edition will remain dry, putting it in stark contrast to last year’s race which was the hottest on record
The text message ended years of friendship with Gebrselassie declaring he now regarded Farah, a four times Olympic gold medalist, as his ‘enemy.’
Farah’s coach Gary Lough said he felt he could turn the negative headlines surrounding the hotel incident into a positive.
Lough told the BBC: ‘He’s not shy at having a little bit of a distraction. I’m a bit disappointed that some of the stuff is kind of questioning his reputation, his character.
‘Maybe it didn’t come out in the right way but for him to get it off his chest and to be able to focus on this is by far for me the best scenario this week.’
Lough added: ‘There have been a lot of allegations, mostly unfounded, exaggeration.
‘It’s not all lies, Mo’s not an angel. There was a little bit of something that happened.’
Daniel Romanchuk of the U.S. wins the men’s wheelchair race having set off earlier than the men’s runners
Romanchuk leading Japan’s Tomoki Suzuki around the gruelling course as they vied for the title in the wheelchair category
Daniel Romanchuk of the U.S. celebrates winning the men’s wheelchair race with Japan’s Tomoki Suzuki and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug
Manuela Schar of Switzerland crosses the line to win the Women’s Elite Wheelchair race during the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon
Runners at the start of the Women’s London Marathon which got underway this morning
Runners in the elite women’s race set off from the start line on Sunday morning
A runner gestures towards the cameras as he begins the arduous 26 mile race through central London
Tens of thousands of runners will take part in the 39th edition of the marathon, with money raised since the event began set to surpass £1 billion.
The event started with the Elite Wheelchair race at 9.05am before the World Para Athletics Marathon Championships Ambulant Athletes start five minutes later, followed by the Elite Women at 9.25am.
The Elite Men’s race started at 10.10am along with the British Athletics and England Athletics Marathon Championships and Mass Race.
Runners and racers are set for a chilly start before the tail end of Storm Hannah makes way for sunny spells, the Met Office said.
Amateur racers taking part range from a hero police officer who responded to the London Bridge terror attacks to the husband of EastEnders star Dame Barbara Windsor.
Pc Leon McLeod, 31, hopes to raise £10,000 for PTSD999, the charity which helped treat his post traumatic stress disorder after the attacks.
Crowds watch on as runners begin the race shortly after the elite runners started as grey skies linger overhead
A runner representing the Mind mental health charity takes a selfie as she begins the epic event on Sunday morning
The event starts with the Elite Wheelchair race at 9.05am before the World Para Athletics Marathon Championships Ambulant Athletes start five minutes later
Dame Barbara’s husband, Scott Mitchell, who turns 56 on marathon day, has already helped raise £100,000 for Dementia Revolution, the 2019 Charity of the Year for the event.
Official figures from the Virgin Money London Marathon say the event has raised a total of more than £955 million for charities since the first in 1981.
Event director Hugh Brashner said: ‘No other mass participation event comes anywhere near this kind of fundraising.’
Sir Richard Branson wished the London Marathon participants good luck in a social media post on Sunday.
Former French professional tennis player Amelie Mauresmo is among those competing this year
The Virgin boss tweeted a photo of himself running at the 2010 event wearing butterfly wings.
He commented: ‘Good luck to everyone running the @VirginMoney @LondonMarathon. Remember, don’t worry if you fall flat on your face – at least you’re moving forward! £VirginFamily’
Runners are expected to have favourable weather for running and racing through the capital.
Temperatures are expected to peak at around 16C (61F) on Sunday afternoon, while rain will be limited to a passing light shower or two and winds will be breezy at most.
Air pollution, the pollen count and ultraviolet (UV) levels are forecast to be low to moderate.
A runner heading to the starting line on the tube on Sunday morning ahead of the marathon
The first race, the Elite Wheelchair, is due to begin at 9.05am, while the main race is scheduled to begin at 10.10am.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burhill said there will be a chilly start for everyone gathering in Greenwich, although temperatures will climb into the teens.
‘It will be a little bit cloudy at first, but things should brighten up as we go through the morning and into the afternoon with some sunny spells developing,’ he told the Press Association.
‘There’s a chance of the odd shower, but it will be just one or two light showers nothing more than that.
‘It’s going to be less windy than yesterday; it will be a bit breezy, but we are only talking gusts of 15-20mph so nothing especially strong.
‘Temperatures will be around 8C (46F) to 9C (48F) when people are starting, but by early afternoon we are looking at highs of 15C (59F) or 16C (61F).
The 2018 London Marathon was hottest on record, with temperatures reaching 23.2C (73.8F) in central London.
Woman to run marathon dressed as a giant boob
A woman will run the 26-mile London marathon today dressed as a giant boob.
Suzy Hawker, 52, of Hove, said best friend Georgia Carrick, 38, has just finished treatment for breast cancer.
So Suzy has decided to run the entire 26.2 miles through the capital’s streets dressed as a giant breast.
She said ‘Our lovely friend Georgia was diagnosed with breast cancer in August last year and endured months of intense chemotherapy.
Suzy Hawker dressed as a giant breast in solidarity with best friend Georgia Carrick, 38, who has just finished treatment for breast cancer
‘She’s a keen runner and a committed Parkrun Co event director.
‘She achieved her 100th Parkrun midway through her treatment, and her first chemo running medal at the Brighton Santa Dash on December 8 last year.’
Suzy is raising money for cancer charity Macmillan but will be dressed as the boob to show her support for Georgia.
She said ‘What an inspiration she truly is. She received the best possible news on March 13 when she heard that following her treatment there was no evidence of cancer.
‘My husband’s goddaughter was diagnosed with cancer when she was nine and she sadly didn’t make it. She died when she was only 11 years old.
‘And I know people who are still living with it’ added Suzy, an experienced runner who has completed several marathons before.
‘The distance for me isn’t a problem.
Suzy is raising money for cancer charity Macmillan but will be dressed as the boob to show her support for Georgia
‘But I’ve never tried to run a marathon dressed up…and dressed up as a boob for that matter.
‘I am going to go to the Macmillan tent to see if there are other boobies doing the race.
‘The nice thing about doing it in a costume is it won’t be as stressful.
‘It doesn’t really matter what time you finish in because you’re dressed as a breast’ said Suzy who recently became a run director for Parkrun.
She met Georgia, a Parkrun event co-director, through the group.
‘Georgia is so great at motivating people. She is an inspiration, especially given what she’s been through.’
Georgia said ‘I wish Suzy luck for Sunday and I will be there supporting her, like she has supported me through my treatment.’