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Dame Kelly Holmes and Jasmin Paris to start 2024 TCS London Marathon

Two running icons have been named as official starters of the elite races at Sunday’s [21 April] TCS London Marathon. 

Jasmin Paris, the first woman to complete the ultra-endurance Barkley Marathons, will start the elite women’s race on Sunday which gets under way at 09:25, before Dame Kelly Holmes, who 20 years ago won a brace of gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, starts the elite men’s race and masses at 10:00. 

Paris made history last month when she became the first woman to complete the Barkley Marathons, an ultramarathon trail race held in Tennessee, USA, which requires participants to complete 100 miles in a 60-hour period.  

Paris, who is co-founder of the environmental run group Green Runners, will start the elite women’s race, which features three of the four fastest women in history – including world record holder Tigst Assefa (ETH). The athletes will be targeting a new women’s only world record, which currently stands at 2:17:01. 

Paris said: “It’s a great honour to have been asked to start the women’s race at the TCS London Marathon. I’m excited to see some of the best marathon runners in the world take on the London Marathon this weekend – maybe we will even see a world record!  

“I’ve watched the London Marathon for many years and have been inspired by the thousands of people who take part every year, all of whom have their own stories of triumph playing out on the day. It’s been a fantastic couple of months for me personally, and I'm looking forward to celebrating by cheering everyone on this weekend." 

The men’s elite race and the mass event set off at 10:00 and will be started by Dame Kelly. It’s 20 years since she completed a historic middle-distance double at the Athens Olympics, winning gold medals in both the 800m and 1500m. 

Dame Kelly said: “It’s a privilege to be one of the official starters of the 2024 TCS London Marathon. I’ve run the London Marathon once before and it was a tough but wonderful challenge.  

“I know the commitment it takes to get to the Start Line, so I have huge admiration for all the participants taking part this year. I hope everyone has a fantastic day on Sunday and we see some competitive elite races as well as all the amazing people doing it for their charities and loved ones. I’ll be cheering you all on!” 

The Start Line of the elite men’s race will include Kenenisa Bekele, the third fastest marathon runner in history, reigning TCS New York City Marathon champion Tamirat Tola, and British star Emile Cairess. 

Previous starters of the TCS London Marathon include Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince and Princess of Wales with the Duke of Sussex, Sir Andy Murray, Lionesses Leah Williamson OBE, Jill Scott MBE and Ellen White MBE, Sir Steve Redgrave, and former London Marathon champions.  

Official starters for the wheelchair races will be announced in the coming days.