THE London Marathon took place with a twist due to the coronavirus pandemic at the weekend, with countless south Essex runners pounding the pavements in a bid to raise money for charity.

While the local community were able to run the 26.2 miles in more familiar surroundings, elite athletes competed in the nation’s capital and Shura Kitata, of Ethiopia, triumphed thanks to a time of two hours, five minutes and 41 seconds.

That means there has not been a British male winner of the world-renowned contest since 1993, when Basildon’s Eamonn Martin emerged victorious in front of thousands of spectators.

Eamonn was born on the Fryerns Estate in 1958 and attended Manor House School and Fryerns Comprehensive School. His talent was not confined to running, with him skippering the school’s cricket team and being named vice-captain of the football, rugby and athletics outfits.


Champion - Eamonn Martin holds the London Marathon trophy aloft in front of Big Ben and remains the last Englishman to win the long-distance event

Twenty years before his memorable London Marathon win, Eamonn became the English Schools Cross Country champion at under-15 level.

His love of athletics saw him join Thurrock Harriers in 1975 but he soon moved to Basildon Athletics Club, where he remains a member to this day.

Eamonn’s achievements include winning Commonwealth Games gold in the 1990 10,000m event and being crowned European champion over the same distance 12 months later.


Winners circle - Eamonn Martin is joined by fellow London Marathon winners Dionicio Ceron, Katrin Dorre and Antonio Pinto for a photocall in front of Tower Bridge

His impressive ability also saw Eamonn represent Great Britain in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, with him being a 5,000m finalist in Los Angeles.

The Essex star featured in two World Athletics Championships, as many Commonwealth Games and six World Cross Country Championships.

Despite his accolades - which include Chicago Marathon and London Master Marathon victories - Eamonn is best known for being the last British man to win the London Marathon, with him beating Mexico’s Isidro Rico to top spot 27 years ago.


Made history - Eamonn Martin won the 1993 London Marathon

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Scroll down to see more snaps of Basildon's running sensation.


Top British runners - Eamonn Martin, Jon Solly, Gary Staines, Mark Hudspith and Paul Evans (left to right) ensured the country had a strong contingent of runners at the 1996 London Marathon


Fun and games - Crystal Palace FC director of football Steve Coppell takes instructions from Eamonn Martin to help launch the 1996 London Marathon Football Challenge


In it to win it - Paul Evans, Liz McColgan, Eamonn Martin and Gary Staines limber up at Trafalgar Square as they brave the filthy January weather to launch the 1997 London Marathon


Sealed with a kiss - Eamonn Martin plants a kiss on the London Marathon trophy


Still on the athletics scene - Eamonn Martin continues to tour the country and watch athletes, including Essex youngster Sam Plummer