Intended for healthcare professionals


Dan Tunstall Pedoe

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 20 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2025
  1. Matthew Limb, Croydon
  1. limb{at}

The “father of marathon medicine”

Dan Tunstall Pedoe is seen by many worldwide as the “father of marathon medicine,” whose skill and foresight created new opportunities for countless ordinary runners. The cardiologist and physician also achieved long sought improvements in healthcare for patients in deprived east London. Known affectionately as “Dr Dan,” Tunstall Pedoe, a keen runner himself, became the first medical director of the London Marathon in 1981, when he was sought out by athlete and event cofounder Chris Brasher. At that first race, he was the only doctor supporting 7500 runners with the help of two physiotherapists, one podiatrist, and a handful of St John Ambulance volunteers.

“Dr Dan was strongly of the opinion that the London marathon need not be confined to the most elite athletes and should be a people’s marathon for all comers,” says Sanjay Sharma, a fellow consultant cardiologist, who succeeded him in the role. “The participation of 35 000 runners each year over the past decade is a testament of his commitment to achieve this goal,” he says.

Tunstall Pedoe recognised that the marathon was a healthy event for most, but remained a challenge for some. He required anyone with a known heart condition or who experienced shortness of breath during light exercise to see a doctor before continuing with their training. …

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