The Women’s Legacy – London Marathon 2013

A third of women marathon runners likely to have breast painSunday’s London Marathon marked the 33rd time that the streets of central London have closed to accomodate a combination of the brave, selfless and downright foolhardy pounding the 26.2 mile course for a total combined distance of 909,271 miles between the finishing runners (based on the 34,705 recorded time runners who completed in 2012).  The 2013 figures in and of themselves are awesome enough and women’s elite and wheelchair race winners Priscah Jeptoo (2:20:15) and Tatyana McFadden (1:46:02) will be able to reflect jobs well and truly done.

2013 was, of course, the first marathon and the first major global sporting event held in London since the success of the 2012 Olympic Games.  And with legacy and the measurability of a sustained post-Olympic activity increase still at the forefront of considerations for sports administrators, we decided to take a look at some of the early statistics for the 2013 marathon.

First impressions first, and the total number of mass event runners by year tells an interesting story with the 2013 event registering slightly fewer entrants (48,323) than its 2012 counterpart, the 2012 event generating the most entrants into the field since the 2010 event, the first of the London Marathons to be sponsored by Virgin.  The number of women entering and competing also tells its own story, with 18,038 women registered to compete in 2013, a slight decrease on the 18,287 registered for 2012 but a percentage increase from 36.7% of the overall field in 2012 to 37.3% this year.

An encouraging statistic in an of itself and looking a little further into the detail, female entrants from Great Britain and Northern Ireland actually increased from 17.292 in 2012 to 17,947 in 2013, in line with an overall increase in domestic entrance to 48,067 from 46,176 last year.  Not only are women making up more of the overall field, but British women are coming out in greater numbers to take an active role in the country’s leading distance-running event.

But here’s our favourite statistic of all.  Where Great Britain and Northern Ireland overall entry peaked in 2010, troughed in 2011 and has climbed steadily since (2010: 47,817; 2011: 43,253; 2012: 46,176; 2013: 48,067) female involvement has seen annual rises which have actually exceeded the 2010 figure, suggesting that the active lifestyle is just as important to women as it is to men (2010: 16,368; 2011: 15,839; 2012: 17,292; 2013: 17,947).

So, to each of those near-18,000 British women who registered to run last Sunday and to the 18,038 who registered overall, for every minute of training, sponsorship, hard-winter kilometers and endurance-testing recovery runs, ‘thank you’.  Thank you for going to show that this legacy thing is important.  Thank you for proving that women have an equal and growing part to play in the annual sporting calendar.


Statistics taken from the Virgin London Marathon Media Guides for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.  All analysis (and all potential errors…) our own.

Image from – Thank you!


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