0.20 miles | Slow and Steady | World Record Attempts

Inevitably come 2pm this afternoon, sports fans are likely to turn their attention away from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to a small town in Lancashire to see whether Manchester City can beat Burnley and return to the top of Premier League. Given they have played them twice already this season and won both games 5-0, the omens don’t look good for Burnley (or current league leaders Liverpool). Whilst this is happening, thousands of runners will still be making their way around the 26.2 mile London Marathon course and almost certainly being introduced to a certain ‘wall’ and pain threshold that they may never have experienced before. One obvious question (other than why run the thing in the first place) is why is it 26.2 miles long? Surely a nice round number like 25 or 26 miles would be far better? Well, the extra distance was, apparently, all down to Queen Alexandra. At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon course was extended from 24.85 miles to accommodate the British Royal Family. As the story goes, Queen Alexandra requested that the race started on the lawn of Windsor Castle (so the young royals could watch from the window of their nursery) and finished in front of the Royal Box at the Olympic stadium — a distance that happened to be 26.2 miles. The random boost in mileage ended up sticking, and in 1921 the length for a marathon was formally standardised. The Weekly is sure the 42,000 competitors finishing today will all be thanking Queen Alexandra as they approach the finish line. Not!

The marathon course meanders its way through many of London's key office markets (Docklands in particular), so it seems an appropriate opportunity to check in to see how this market has been performing so far this year. Take-up in Central London fell to 2.4 million sq. ft. in the first quarter of 2019, lower than the quarterly average but ahead of both the equivalent period in 2017 and the 10-year average for the first quarter, which is typically slower anyway. Despite a fall in take-up, office supply across London fell by 4% over the quarter, ending Q1 at 11.2 million sq. ft. As a result, the Central London office vacancy rate currently stands at only 4.80%. New office developments continue to be absorbed quickly, and this, combined with the low levels of speculative supply, have been the major contributing factors in keeping prime rents unchanged so far this year. In line with occupier take-up, Central London investment volumes also slowed in Q1, reaching only £2.4 billion, some 30% lower than the 10 year quarterly average (£3.4 billion). To illustrate the slow-down, according to JLL, there were no investment transactions in East London in Q1! With Brexit now potentially delayed until 31 October 2019, The Weekly expects ‘a slow but steady pace’ for investment transaction volumes for the rest of this year.

Sticking with our marathon-themed version of The Weekly, the stories generated by the participants always make for an interesting, if not occasionally tear-jerking read. No-one will ever forget Paula Radcliffe's World Record in 2003 or when she had to deal with the rumblings of her grilled salmon breakfast on the kerb-side in 2005. Nor are we likely to forget Lloyd Scott who ‘ran’ the London Marathon wearing a 130 lb deep-sea diving outfit! This year a total of ninety-five runners will attempt eighty-four Guinness World Records titles between them. Records being attempted include the fastest marathon dressed as a tent, the fastest marathon in a six-person costume and the fastest marathon dressed as a landmark building. The current record for the latter of these three bizarre records was set at the Berlin Marathon in September 2018. Richard Mietz, who wore a costume of the Holstentor city gate in Lübeck, set a time of 3 hours and 34 minutes. His challenger today is Lukas Bates (who has a marathon personal best of 2 hours and 59 minutes) and who is, ridiculously, running in a Big Ben costume. Now who would do anything quite as stupid as that!!!??? In a completely shameless, moment of self-promotion, in approximately 45 minutes, this week's author will be starting his own London Marathon journey. Neither Richard Mietz nor Lukas Bates need worry. It’s more likely to be the road cleaners sweeping up at the end of the day that should watch out! For more information, please visit his Virgin Giving website.