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The Pioneers of Sport

August 9, 2017

 

 

Every major sporting event starts somewhere and even some of the best-known world class events can trace their roots back to just a handful of pioneering participants.  The pioneers of sport are not the creators of the event, but rather the first participants. 

 

There is kudos in stating that you’ve run the TCS New York City Marathon, clocked up 50 parkruns or completed an IronMan triathlon.  But just think if you could say you were there at the very start? The very first event.  Before it became what it is today?

 

Running Pioneers:

 

The TCS New York City Marathon is probably the most high-profile marathon in the world.  The Abbott World Marathon Major event has over 50,000 hitting the streets through all five Boroughs every year.  But the event all started with just 55 pioneering finishers in Central Park in 1970 (127 started). What a claim to fame these 55 unassuming runners now have and they only paid entry fee of $1!

 

The Virgin Money London Marathon also makes a big deal of their “ever-presents” – a slowly dwindling group of people who have run every single London Marathon since its inception in 1981.  The number is now down to just 11.

 

The global phenomenon that is parkrun famously started out with just 13 runners in a South London park.  These 13 pioneers are now lauded as almost minor celebrities throughout the global parkrun family. Their involvement, support and advocacy was critical to the development of weekly, free timed runs that we all enjoy to this day.

 

Triathlon Pioneers:

Officially, the London Triathlon is the largest in the world, however few would disagree that the highest profile triathlon is the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona.  The field is strictly limited to about 2,500 but could probably sell the places 20 times over.  The first IronMan event was held in 1978 with just 12 competitors completing the 140.6 mile course (15 started).  Incidentally, Ironman founder John Collins finished ninth in 17 hours 0 minutes and 38 seconds, and so the infamous 17 hour cut off time was born.

 

The AJ Bell London Triathlon, now boasting 12,000 participants across the weekend, started out with a few hundred hardy, pioneering participants.

 

Swimming Pioneers:

Swimmers now have the opportunity to become a pioneer with the first ever Marathon Swims event 11 November 2017.  Swimming’s Ultimate Challenge is coming to London Aquatics Centre, on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

 

The Marathon Swims event consists of Marathon 10k, Half Marathon 5k and 1k Challenges, including a Team 10k (team of two).  This is the first time the iconic 10k distance comes to the Pool.  The event plans to grow into a nationwide series, but of course the London event, being the first and at such a prestigious venue will hopefully grow to be on every swimmer’s bucketlist.  Take your opportunity to be one of swimming’s pioneers and enter Marathon Swims today.

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