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James Cracknell leads the runners beating the odds to complete the London Marathon

18 APRIL 2011

Every year the London Marathon showcases the very best of British resolve.

Tens of thousands of people take to the streets to take part in the 26.2 mile race, alongside some of the world's top athletes.

And 2011 was no exception. It is estimated that some 36,500 participants managed to cross the finish line to earn their medals and raise money for countless charities.

For some, completing the marathon was a particularly incredible feat.

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Olympian oarsman James Cracknell was one such man.

Still recovering from a severe brain injury he endured while competing in a race across the US just eight months ago, the 39-year-old nevertheless decided to take part in this year's event.

Not expecting to match his 2006 race time of three hours, James – whose wife Beverly gave birth to their third child last week – completed the course in three hours, three minutes and 56 seconds. He was running to raise money for brain injury association Headway.

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Another celebrity runner showing great determination on Sunday was Sophie Raworth. Her dreams of completing the marathon seemed all but over when she collapsed two miles from the finish line.

But, after spending two hours recovering at a St John's Ambulance bay, the BBC newsreader picked herself back up again and went on to finish the race in six hours, 22 minutes and 57 seconds.

She was running to raise money for Cancer Research UK in honour of three "wonderful women" – including her best friend – who had died in recent years from the disease.

Former policeman David Rathband, who lost his sight last year when he was shot by gunman Raoul Moat, also managed to complete the race. He was cheered over the line by his proud wife Kath, and raised more than £10,000 for his Blue Lamp charity to help 999 injured heroes.


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Celebrity runners at Sunday's event included singer Will Young, models Agyness Deyn, Nell McAndrew, James' former teammate Matthew Pinsent and footballer Dwight Yorke.

Other famous faces – albeit fancy dress – included Fred Flintstone, Zorro, Superman and Prince William and Kate Middleton.

And with the royal wedding less than two weeks away, two runners decided to take a break 20 miles into the marathon – to get married.

Andrew Ford and Katrina Scaife tied the knot at Docklands Hotel before jogging away together as husband and wife.

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