The start button will be pushed in the grounds of Windsor Castle to begin the race on April 22

Her Majesty The Queen has been announced as the official starter for the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.

On Sunday April 22, The Queen will step on to a special podium in front of the Round Tower in the grounds of Windsor Castle to push the start button at 10:00.

BBC Sport will relay live coverage of the start ceremony to the big screens at Blackheath to set off 40,000 runners on the famous 26.2 miles from Blackheath to The Mall.

“We are deeply honoured that Her Majesty The Queen has accepted the invitation to start the 2018 London Marathon,” said Sir John Spurling, chairman of London Marathon Events Ltd, organisers of the race.

“Especially as this will happen 110 years after the 1908 Olympic marathon was started at Windsor Castle by the then Princess Mary, grandmother to The Queen.”

The 1908 marathon, the showpiece finale of the Olympic Games, was the first marathon to be held over the classic 26.2 mile distance. Opinions differ on why this distance was chosen, with historians suggesting the extra 385 yards were included either to finish the race in front of the Royal Box at the White City stadium, or to start the race in front of the Royal nursery at Windsor.

Princess Mary (later Queen Mary) set the runners on their way from Windsor Castle. Dorando Pietri of Italy was the first to cross the line in the White City Stadium but was subsequently disqualified as, exhausted, he had been helped across the finish by two officials. The following day Queen Alexandra, who had watched the finish, presented Pietri with a gilded silver trophy to mark his achievement.

The Pietri Trophy will be on display at the Virgin Money London Marathon Expo at ExCeL from April 18-21.