#LondonMarathon: 40,000 Take To The Streets Of London For Gruelling 26.2-Mile Run (PICTURES)

Runners start their race at Blackheath during the London Marathon, Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Runners start their race at Blackheath during the London Marathon, Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Close to 40,000 people have taken to the streets of London today for a gruelling 26-mile course, as the world-famous London Marathon race returns to the capital.

London will come almost to a standstill today as some of distance running's biggest names pound the streets of the capital alongside thousands of amateur runners.

Olympic hero Mo Farah came eighth for his first London Marathon, during the most backed in the history of the race.

The 31-year-old, a two-time Olympic medallist, was installed as one of the favourites to complete the 26.2-mile capital course ahead of the rest.

He joined the likes of last year's winner Tsegaye Kebede and runner-up Emmanuel Mutai from Kenya for the route, which will also have a strong women's field as well as famous faces.

Wilson Kipsang won the men's race in an incredible new course record of 2:04.27. While Edna Kiplagat pipped Florence Kiplagat to win the women's race.

Marcel Hug pipped GB's David Weir, nicknamed the "Weirwolf", to victory in men's wheelchair race

Other celebrities taking part include former Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen, Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer, Michelin-star chef Michel Roux Jr and Olympic diver Tom Daley.

Rowers Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins pushed the famous red button at the start line on Shooters Hill to send the 36,000 runners and wheelchair racers on their way.

Thousands will be raised for charity with any number of fancy-dress joggers and amateur runners going the extra mile together for good causes.

Well-wishers have already taken to Twitter to bid the race participants good luck:

There will be a number of road closures throughout the day as traffic with the start of the marathon being in Greenwich.

Runners will then travel south of the river Thames via Charlton and the Cutty Sark to Tower Bridge and into East-London and the Isle of Dogs.

Via Canary Wharf, the runners will make their way back to Tower Hill and follow the river past many of London's famed landmarks, including the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.

The finishing line will be in front of the world famous Buckingham Palace, as competitors will cut past St. James' Park on their way to the iconic Royal residence.