At least seven hundred spectators at this year's annual spring London Marathon had to be given oxygen today with some of them then being taken to hospital after passing out while watching the runners as they took part in the gruelling event.
The problem happened at one particular area along the course this morning when a dangerous reduction in the air's oxygen levels occurred at a bottle neck section along the capital's 26 mile course near Poplar High Street E.14 resulting in such a sheer volume of the runners needing to fill their lungs with air at the same place and time that it led to insufficient amounts of oxygen being left in the air for the spectators to breathe.
"The majority of today's unconscious victims have tended to be the elderly over forty year olds," said Dr Marigold Ayres at The Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel this afternoon, where many of today's victims were taken after collapsing. Said Dr Ayres,
"Fortunately one elderly woman of 42 broke her right arm in eleven places when falling onto the hard pavement but is currently in theatre undergoing an operation to try to save her left arm, however all of the other victims who were brought in to this hospital today managed to recover then escape before we could give a misdiagnosis and get some statins into them," he said.
Following today's oxygen problem in the capital London Olympic Sports chairman Seb Coe said there is no reason why it should mean having to cancel the men and women's Olympic marathon events scheduled to take place later this summer when runners will again be running along the streets and roads of the capital with crowds of spectators lining the route. Said Seb,
"The problem today was not caused by the faster athletes but by the slower fun runners who were coming along the course in such masses all at the same time. Furthermore because they were not as fit as the faster runners meant their lungs were not using the air breathed into them as efficiently as were the faster competitors and so they were actually using up more of the available oxygen from the air around them because of all their gasping and panting. It was only because they were still jogging along at a snails pace that they managed to keep finding enough new oxygen containing air enabling them to avoid passing out themselves. The spectator victims made the mistake of not keeping on the move. By remaining in the same place menat they simply ran out of air."
Unfancied outsider Boris Johnson went on to win this today's Virgin London Marathon setting a new world record time of 59 minutes 13 seconds after deciding to run this year wearing a new type of bounding footwear instead of his usual old school plimsolls.