'If you want to win something, run 100 metres. If you want to experience something, run a marathon' - Emil Zatopek The London Marathon salutes 25 years of the London Marathon by exploring the incredible physical and mental challenge that lies at the very heart of marathon running. It begins with the author standing on the start line at Blackheath for the very first London Marathon in March 1981. And it ends 26 miles and 25 years later, as the author emerges, still running, past Buckingham Palace and on through the miles and memories to the finish. From the legend of Pheidippides and the mystery of Spiridon Louis - who won the first modern Olympic marathon in 1896 - to the agony of Paula Radcliffe, reduced to tears on the long road to Athens more than a century later, this is a story of dreams, pain, struggle and achievement. The courage and the craziness of the characters who for 25 years have run the streets of London, have turned this race into the greatest marathon in the world. The London Marathon is a testament to their endeavour, and to the spirit that leads them each spring to tackle their own suburban Everest. This is their story.