After three years of training, David Wyeth had a large personal stake in crossing the London Marathon’s finish line. When his muscles stopped responding just feet away from the end, however, he crashed helplessly to the floor. And following that catastrophe, all Wyeth could seemingly do was watch other athletes stream past him to complete the course. But then another competitor spotted the stricken man – and the fellow runner made a heartwarming decision.
Since the London Marathon’s debut in March 1981, completing the event has been a milestone in many an athlete’s career. That said, the English capital had held prestigious running events for decades prior to that inaugural test of endurance in the ’80s. For a while, you see, London was known in certain circles for the long-distance Polytechnic Marathon – or the Poly – which had started back in 1909.
The Poly took place over a now-standardized 26.2-mile course and played host to eight record-breaking achievements before its decline in 1996. And while the Poly and the London Marathon were both once part of the running world calendar, the latter has now taken center stage. Interestingly, though, the initial inspiration for the Virgin Money London Marathon – to give it its full title – came from across the pond.