What a fantastic first Virgin London Marathon today and two Virgin hot air balloons were part of an amazing sporting spectacle.

More than 36,000 runners, including Princess Beatrice, Sir Richard Branson, and his children Holly and Sam, braved some wet and windy conditions to complete the gruelling 26.2-mile course around the Capital, raising tonnes of cash for charities such as Virgin Unite.

The elite men's race was won by Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede in 2:05:19, Russia's Liliya Shobukhova secured the elite woman's race in 2:21:59 21 and Canada's Josh Cassidy won the wheelchair race in 1:25.31.

Virgin Balloon Flights' pilots and crew arrived on Blackheath in the early hours before putting on a fantastic show for thousands of runners and spectators, plus millions of people watching television at home. Under the control of pilots Kevin Meehan and Mark Simmons, respectively, the tethered Virgin Money balloon bobbed up and down happily by the Red Start while the Virgin Balloon Flights balloon added some colour with other balloons at the Blue Start.

Well done to all the runners who took part today - especially those in the weird and wonderful costumes. You're a real inspiration! We'll be back with more news from the Marathon shortly, including how Virgin.com's Bob Fear got on and how much we have helped him raise for Virgin Unite.