Hudreds of runners on London's Tower Bridge
Credit: London Marathon

Famous faces from stage, screen, and sport are swapping their home comforts for 26.2 miles of running, jogging and walking, as they take on the challenge of the 2024 TCS London Marathon on Sunday 21 April.

The millions watching both roadside and around the world on TV may recognise a few faces among the 50,000 participants – none more so than award-winning comedian and TV presenter Romesh Ranganathan, Golden Globe winning actor Ruth Wilson MBE, and Phil Dunster, star of Emmy award-winning show Ted Lasso, who are all making their London Marathon debuts.

As a comedian, TV presenter, actor and podcast host, Ranganathan has many strings to his bow, and he will be adding marathon running to that list. The 45-year-old BAFTA winner has been a patron of Campaign Against Living Miserably – or CALM – since October 2023, and will be running in support of the mental health charity in April. CALM runs a free, confidential, and anonymous helpline as well as a web chat service, offering help, advice, and information to anyone who is struggling or in crisis.

Ranganathan said: “If you told me a couple years ago that I’d be running a marathon, I’d have told you there was no chance – but CALM’s work is so important that I’m going to break a lifelong promise to myself, invest in some nipple tape and run the London Marathon for them this April.”

Alongside Ranganathan will be Wilson, known for her performances in shows such as Jane Eyre, Luther, His Dark Materials and The Affair, for which she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama in 2014. Wilson is running with her three brothers for the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, which has supported her family following their father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Dunster, who played Jamie Tartt in the hit sports comedy-drama Ted Lasso, will also be taking on his first London Marathon when he runs for Young Lives vs Cancer. He has a very personal association with the charity after his cousin’s son, Rory, was diagnosed with a brain tumour aged just four months old. The charity helped the family throughout Rory’s illness and when he passed away, they were on hand to offer guidance and emotional support.

Dunster said: “I’m equal parts excited and terrified…that I’ll be running the London Marathon this year. I want to raise as much as I can to help Young Lives vs Cancer social workers be there for more children like Rory and their parents.

“Their amazing social workers are there from the moment of diagnosis to make sure children and young people with cancer and their families get the right care and support at the right time. But they don’t get any government funding, so it’s up to people like us to make sure they can carry on doing what they do. So that’s why I’m taking on this absolutely epic (and rather mad) challenge.”

Joining him on the Start Line will be EastEnders actors Emma Barton and Jamie Borthwick. They will be running the London Marathon for the second time, but this time they will be taking part as their characters, Honey and Jay, for a special episode of the London-based soap in which the pair run the 2024 TCS London Marathon in memory of Jay’s wife, Lola, who died of a brain tumour in a storyline from 2023.

The 2024 TCS London Marathon will also play host to a stacked line-up of elite rugby stars. Former rugby league players Jamie Peacock and Jamie Jones-Buchanan have swapped scrums for runs as they prepare to participate in aid of the charity Sue Ryder Care, while former Wales rugby union legend Shane Williams will run his fifth London Marathon for the Velindre Cancer Centre.

Gary Rowett, who most recently managed Millwall Football Club from 2019 to 2023, will be lacing up his running shoes once again as he takes part in what will be his fourth London Marathon.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games judo gold medal winner, Joe Kellaway, will be hoping to takedown the stigma surrounding mental health as he runs his first London Marathon for the Mental Health Foundation.

Paralympians Danny Crates and Richard Whitehead will be among the hundreds of participants taking part with a disability at the 2024 TCS London Marathon. Crates, a former 800 metre Paralympic world-record holder who won gold in Athens in 2004, will be taking part in support of Sports Aid, while 200 metre T42 world-record holder and four-time Paralympic medal winner Whitehead hopes to raise awareness for his foundation, The Richard Whitehead Foundation, which he set up to help remove the barriers people with disabilities face when trying to access sport.

Other celebrities taking part include former Doctor Who and Emmy-winning actor Christopher Eccleston, who is running to raise awareness for the charity The Big Issue, and The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) star Chloe Meadows who is raising funds for the charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK. Meadows was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis six years ago and is now raising awareness of the condition in the hope others will seek medical advice.

Sky Sports F1 presenter and Flackstock co-founder Natalie Pinkham is running on behalf of the 2024 TCS London Marathon’s Official Charity of the Year, Samaritans, in memory of her friend Caroline Flack, who tragically took her own life in 2020. Samaritans offer support and guidance to people in their time of need and help them to believe that a future is possible. Their campaign for the 2024 TCS London Marathon is Believe in Tomorrow.

Pinkham said: “I’m so proud to be running the 2024 TCS London Marathon in support of Samaritans, the Official Charity of the Year, and in memory of my beautiful friend, Caroline Flack. Samaritans is one of the charities we support at Flackstock and I love everything that it stands for. I know what a difference the money raised will make and the lives it will save. It’s going to be a tough challenge, but any time I have a low moment, I think of Flacky and dig a bit deeper.”

See below for the full list of famous faces preparing to take part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon on Sunday 21 April. Any charities the runners are supporting are also listed, in brackets.

Aimee Fuller – former winter Olympian
Ali Jawad – Paralympian (Crohn’s & Colitis UK)
Alexander Lincoln – actor, Emmerdale (Centrepoint)
Baasit and Raza Siddiqui – stars of Channel 4’s Gogglebox
Ben Murphy – 2023 National Chef of the Year (Hospitality Action)
Charlie Hodgson – former England rugby union player (Muscular Dystrophy UK)
Chloe Meadows – star of ITV’s The Only Way Is Essex (Crohn’s & Colitis UK)
Chris Newton – former Olympic cyclist (Anthony Nolan)
Christopher Eccleston – actor, formerly Doctor Who (The Big Issue)
Dan Hudson – comedian and podcast host of A Gay and A Non-Gay (Marie Curie)
Danny Crates – Paralympian (Sports Aid)
Darren Turner – racing driver (Hope for Tomorrow)
Emma Barton – actor, EastEnders
Emily Clarkson – influencer and Should I Delete That podcast host
Emon Choudhury – winner of BBC’s Race Across the World series two
Erin Doherty – actor, previously in The Crown (Young Minds UK)
Esther Manito – comedian (World Animal Protection)
Gary Rowett – former football manager
Harry Judd – McFly drummer (The Children’s Trust)
Jack Derges – actor (Child Bereavement UK)
James Cracknell – former Olympic rower
Jamie Borthwick – actor, EastEnders
Jamie Jones-Buchanan – former rugby league player (Sue Ryder Care)
Jamie Peacock – former rugby league player (Sue Ryder Care)
Jenni Falconer – Smooth FM radio presenter
Joe Kellaway – 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner (Mental Health Foundation)
Josh Cuthbert – former Union J singer (Samaritans)
Joshua Patterson – TV personality, Made In Chelsea (Samaritans)
Laura Hamilton – A Place in the Sun presenter (WellChild)
Lauren-Nicole Mayes – actor (Action on Postpartum Psychosis)
Lawrence Robb – actor, Emmerdale (Samaritans)
Natalie Pinkham – Sky Sports F1 presenter and Flackstock co-founder (Samaritans)
Phil Dunster – actor, Ted Lasso (Young Lives Vs Cancer)
Rangan Chatterjee – host of Feel Better, Live More podcast
Romesh Ranganathan – comedian and presenter (CALM)
Ruth Wilson – Golden Globe winning actor (Alzheimer’s Research UK)
Ryan Hand – TV presenter (Marie Curie)
Shane Williams – former Wales rugby union player (Velindre Cancer)
Suzanne Shaw – TV personality and singer (WellChild)