29 March

London Scramble image

It's the anniversary of the first London Marathon

So we are drinking a...

London Scramble

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According to legend, the original marathon was run in Ancient Greece, when a soldier named Pheidippides allegedly raced some 40-odd kilometres (25 miles) in the high summer heat to deliver the news of victory at the Battle of Marathon.

Today, however, marks the anniversary of the first-ever London Marathon, in 1981, when, inspired by the New York Marathon, 6,747 nervous runners gathered in the English capital to compete. The race has grown in popularity since then with 36,549 runners crossed the finish line in 2010.

You have to be 18 to enter, but there's no cut off age - the oldest person to complete the marathon was 93 year-old Fauja Singh - puts us all to shame. We'll spare you the equally staggering statists on how many millions of pints of urine have been deposited in the 950 toilets around the marathon course over the years...as well as how many tons of petroleum jelly have been rubbed on the athletes' chapped groins, nipples and toes.

With a welter of participants in fancy dress raising money for charity by racing as whoopee cushions, camels, giant bananas and more, the London Marathon can be a scramble, so why not celebrate this anniversary with a genuine London Scramble?

We are also celebrating teleportation

Apologies if you missed this one at the time, but on this day in 1993 one of our favourite light reading magazines, Physical Review Letters, published an article showing that teleportation was actually possible. Albeit only of quantum particles, and only theoretically.

It took another five years before the world's first known example of teleportation occurred, when scientists in California teleported a photon three feet, sending it from one side of a lab bench to the other without crossing "any physical medium" in between. In 2010, Chinese scientists moved some particles, all of them unimaginably tiny, as far as 16km.

Unfortunately, the original particle is destroyed and then reappears, so, when we do get to the point of teleportation, you won't be able to come back and have a chat with yourself. We are toasting mad scientists everywhere, and anyone who understands quantum physics, with a Charles Schumann creation, the Sweet Science.

It's also the anniversary of Scott's last diary entry

100 years ago today, snowbound in a tent without fuel, food or water, the polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott wrote his last diary entry:

"Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from W.S.W. and S.W. We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece and bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. Last entry. For God's sake look after our people."

We are toasting this brave Englishman, who reached the South Pole and died only 11 miles from fuel and food soon after writing this last note, with a Scottish Breakfast.

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