From Jade Goody’s pre-marathon diet of ‘eating curry and Chinese, and drinking’ to James Argent’s sister claiming to have run the course faster than the then-world record , we look at the most dramatic London Marathon moments to involve the nation’s favourite celebrities
London Marathon: Famous faces share relief at finish line in 2021
As 50,000 people prepare to run the iconic London Marathon on Sunday [October 2], a number of famous faces will be amongst the runners hoping to complete the 26.2 mile course and cross the finish line.
Former TOWIE star Mark Wright will be joining the likes of McFly drummer Harry Judd, film and TV star Stephen Mangan and former Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark running this year’s London Marathon, after injury prevented the devastated reality TV star from doing so last year.
While most celebrities manage to not only make it past the finish line and raise thousands of pounds for charity, not all public figures are quite so successful with their efforts – with some well-known names even causing controversy and drama during their stints as long-distance runners.
Jade Goody’s curry and booze fuelled training plan
In preparation for the London Marathon many runners adapt their lifestyles to include gruelling fitness plans, a strict diet and cut out alcohol completely, but Big Brother legend Jade Goody had a different approach in the lead up to the long-distance running event.
The late mum-of-two cemented her place in pop culture history back in 2006, when she “got bored” with training for the London Marathon – only completing four practice sessions before the big day and going on to fail to make it past the finish line of the 26.2-mile course.
Jade – whose loved ones recently reunited for a charity walk in her honour – was slammed by critics at the time, as she required medical assistance halfway around the course during her attempt to the complete the marathon in order to raise money for children’s charity the NSPCC.
The late reality TV star admitted to “eating curry and Chinese, and drinking” just days before the race, with a London Marathon spokeswoman going on to reveal there was no record of the mum-of-two after she passed the 18.5 mile (30km) point at 4 hours and 37 minutes.
At the time, The Guardian reported witnesses saying Jade “turned blue” and shouted “I’m dying” to paramedics around the 18.5 mile mark, but the late star – who died from cervical cancer in 2009 – later claimed she managed to run 21 miles before throwing in the towel.
“I’ve never done anything so hard in all my life … It was horrible when I stopped, I felt like I was dying,” she said from her home in Essex after the marathon – adding her nominated charity, the NSPCC, would receive the £355 sponsorship money she raised.
While Jade didn’t manage to run a marathon, 18.5 miles is still well over the total distance of famous half-marathons like The Great North Run, so not too bad of an effort!
Katie Price tragic miscarriage
Katie Price, 44 has completed not one, but two London Marathons and, despite being registered disabled due to a foot injury, has dreams of running the 26.2-mile course again next year.
The Pricey first completed the race alongside then-husband Peter Andre back in 2009, with the pair crossing the finish line at just over the seven hour mark.
Nine years on from her first long-distance running event, the mum-of-five revealed she heartbreakingly suffered a miscarriage during the London Marathon and was ‘bleeding the whole way through’ her effort.
“It’s dangerous to run when you’re bleeding that much. You can get a blood clot and I thought, ‘I can’t let anyone down’,” she explained to Piers Morgan on Life Stories.
Brett D. Cove / Splash News)
“So, even the day of the marathon I’m running along, I keep going to the toilet because I keep checking to see if I’m bleeding and stuff. And then obviously my knee goes and I’m thinking of Harvey.”
Katie and her ex-husband were running the marathon to raise money for charities relating to her eldest child’s Harvey Price’s Prada Willi syndrome.
The former glamour model returned to the London Marathon in 2018, dressed in a lung costume in aid of the British Lung Foundation – in honour of her terminally ill mother – but was forced to pull out of the race at the 10-15km mark because of a knee injury.
Brett D. Cove / Splash News)
Despite falling off a wall in Turkey last year and breaking both feet and ankles, resilient Katie has vowed to take on next year’s London Marathon – telling Steph’s Packed Lunch viewers earlier this year: “I’d have to do a fast walk or something. I don’t want that to be taken away and I’ll do everything I can to do it.”
Katie has offered no further update on her marathon plans as she famously says, ‘Never underestimate The Pricey’.
Reality TV cheat accusations
Despite the London Marathon being a wholesome event, each year cheating accusations are thrown about – with celebrities sometimes being dragged into claims they didn’t cross the finish line without cutting a few corners.
In 2019, former Love Island star Georgia Harrison impressively ran the London Marathon in exactly four hours – going on to admit after the race she hadn’t done much training and had been partying just days before she put her running shoes on for the gruelling challenge.
While many fans congratulated the star on her incredible achievement, some accused the 26-year-old of cheating – causing the reality TV star hit back and deny the claims.
“To say that Georgia cheated is absolutely ridiculous,” a representative for Georgia told OK! magazine at the time. “She did do bits of training when she could find the time, but she’s just a very strong-willed young woman.”
Georgia isn’t the only famous name to be accused of cheating over the years, with James ‘Arg’ Argent’s sister raising suspicion in 2016 when she managed run 20k in just 39 minutes – over 10 minutes faster than the then-current world record of 55:21km held by male athlete Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea.
Race officials confirmed at the time that Natasha was under investigation after clocking up the suspicious times and the reality TV star’s sibling went on to admit she hadn’t completed the course – explaining how a panic attack had caused her to quit the route.
“People were cheering me on and I felt like I didn’t deserve the cheers,” she told OK! magazine in 2016.
“It was just awful. I’m really sorry if I have hurt anyone.”
The London Marathon organisers confirmed at the end of April that Natasha would be returning her finisher’s medal.
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