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Virgin Money London Marathon

Run 26.2mi
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Challenge Awards IconChallenge Awards Runner Up 2019
Take up the challenge of this truly global event. Runners will not go a single mile without feeling the rush of music and cheering supporters spurring them on.

Review summary

4.9
56 Reviews
  • Course
  • Organisation
  • Atmosphere

J

Jennifer B
"One of the six marathon majors, the most over subscribed and popular event on..."

L

Lucia J
"4th October 2020<br />40th London Marathon..."

B

Becky H
"Simply AMAZING!!! The organisation was spot on, bag drop was a breeze, lots of..."
See all reviews

How to enter the Virgin Money London Marathon

  1. London Marathon

    Run 26.2mi

Virgin Money London Marathon route

The London Marathon course is one of the most iconic routes in running. Winding its way through the heart of the capital, with crowds lining the side of the route at every step, the course has barely changed since the race was first held in 1981.

The course begins starts in leafy Blackheath, heads east through Charlton and Woolwich for three miles, turns west and passes the Cutty Sark in Greenwich after six to seven miles.

It crosses the River Thames at Tower Bridge and then loops around London, right past the Shard. Continuing along past the 12th mile markers, runners will be taken past Canary Wharf and the London Eye.

Runners will finish in a blaze of glory along London's most iconic landmarks, Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.

Event Details

What’s Included
  • Finisher's Medal
  • T-Shirt
  • Goody Bag
  • Marshalled Course
  • Water Stations
  • Aid Stations
  • Freebies at the ExCel centre
  • Life Long Memories
Raceday Logistics

There are three Start Areas at the Virgin Money London Marathon – Red, Blue, and Green – and the colour of your running number indicates your Start Area. Each Start Area has eight zones – numbered 1 to 8 - and you will be informed of your Start Zone when you register at Expo.

The zone you have been allocated to is based on your predicted finish time when you entered. Please note: You cannot change your Start Area or move to an earlier Start Zone. However, if you think your predicted finish time is now too fast, you will be allowed to join a later Start Zone.

To make sure the start of your race goes smoothly, you just need to do the following:

  • Go to your correct Start Area
  • Drop off the kitbag you have been provided
  • Join your correct Start Zone
  • Follow the instructions of the marshals

Kitbags and baggage lorries

The PA systems at each start area will tell you when to put your kitbag onto the appropriate baggage vehicle in the start area.

You should hand your bag in at the lorry with the number range which corresponds to your running number. Staff on the lorries will only accept official Virgin Money London Marathon kitbags, so please ensure you have stuck your self-adhesive running number label to the kitbag where indicated.

You will then be able to retrieve your kitbag from the baggage lorries after you finish. Once you have deposited your kitbag on the lorry, you will not be able to retrieve your belongings until you arrive at the finish.

Kit List

Spectators

Getting around

With all roads closed (visit our road closures page for more details), the only way to get around is by public transport. London Underground, London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) lay on extra services on Race Day, and this is by far the best way to get around.

Before setting off, you need to prepare – spectating isn’t quite as tough as marathon training but it still needs some thought:

Travel light – you will be standing for hours on end, so keep your belongings to a minimum and try and leave as many valuables as you can at home.

Comfortable clothes (especially shoes) are a must. You should be prepared for a typical April day in London – sun, showers and wind.

It’s busy! If you are a regular commuter, think rush hour. If not, think what it’s like when you attend a concert or festival. You will often have to queue and some stations may be forced to shut temporarily while staff clear the crowds.

Expect to do lots of walking, including stairs and escalators – you should think carefully before bringing young children; pushchairs can also be troublesome.

Places to avoid

If you want to follow your loved ones and try to get a glimpse of them as they pass, it is suggested that you avoid very crowded areas, where it can be difficult to find a viewing spot, hard to move around and tough to get in and out.

Busy areas include Greenwich town centre and the Cutty Sark. While the ship is undoubtedly a beautiful backdrop for the race, the crowds that are attracted here can make spectating uncomfortable and transport in and around Greenwich becomes particularly busy.

Tower Bridge is always extremely busy, as is anywhere from mile 24 to the finish in The Mall. Obviously many of you will eventually end up in this area later on in the day as you head to the runner meet and greet area in Horse Guards Road.

Runner meet and greet area

It can be very busy, so please take note of the following advice. There will be meeting points in Horse Guards Road and Horse Guards Parade with areas marked by letters of the alphabet – meet at your family initial or at another pre-arranged letter.

Please meet your runner at one of these meeting points. DO NOT congregate around the exit from the secure area at the top of Horse Guards Road. This causes massive congestion for exiting runners as well as other health and safety issues for the large numbers of people in this area. Both the Police and our security personnel are under strict instructions not to allow people to congregate here and to move them along.

Heavy mobile phone traffic on all networks means you may find it difficult to get a signal in and around the finish area. Therefore, do not rely on mobile phones but plan where to meet in advance.

Runners are more likely to run slower than their predicted time. After crossing the Finish Line it will take a minimum of 15 minutes and closer to 30-40 minutes to reach the runner meet and greet area. Remember to build these factors into your arrangements when planning to meet your runner.

And finally...

Make sure you have the details of your runner’s race number. It is the easiest way for the organiser's information point to identify them on the database.

Volunteers

The Virgin Money London Marathon receives incredible volunteer support and there are approximately 6,000 volunteers who join the team and play a crucial role in the delivery of the event.

If you are interested in volunteering at the event, please email [email protected] with your name and contact details and a member of the team will be in touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enter the London Marathon?
The majority of runners apply for the London Marathon by entering the ballot, with a 4% chance of getting in. If you don't get in through the ballot, you can run for a charity, for which there are about 15,000 places. You can also get a good-for-age place, details of which can be found here: https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/how-to-enter/good-age-entry/faqs/
At what time does the London Marathon start?
The mass start of the London Marathon starts at 10:10 am on race morning
What is the cut-off time for the London Marathon?
The cut-off time for the London Marathon is 7 hours. You can continue running after this time, but you will have to run on the pavement, as roads will reopen, and you will not receive a finisher's medal.
Where can I find results for the London Marathon?
Results for the London Marathon can be found here https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/event-info/race-results/

Meet the organiser

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The London Marathon (currently known through sponsorship as the Virgin Money London Marathon) is a long-distance running event held in London, United Kingdom, part of the World Marathon Majors. The event was first run on 29 March 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since. Since 2010, the race has been sponsored by Virgin Money.

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Virgin Money London Marathon reviews (56)

4.9 out of 5 stars

  • Course
  • Organisation
  • Atmosphere
  • Did the London Marathon in 2020

    Virtual London Marathon in the rain
  • Did the London Marathon in 2020

    4th October 2020
    40th London Marathon (virtual)
  • Did the London Marathon in 2020

    Great fun.
  • Did the London Marathon in 2017

    Fantastic, best marathon in the world
  • Did the London Marathon in 2019

    End of an Epic Month
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  • Did the London Marathon in 2018

    So So So Hot
  • Did the London Marathon in 2017

    One of the six marathon majors, the most over subscribed and popular event on the planet, incredible crowds, unique atmosphere, an opportunity to run this event is an opportunity not to be missed.
  • Did the London Marathon in 2019

    Simply AMAZING!!! The organisation was spot on, bag drop was a breeze, lots of toilets, the waves were easy to navigate. Potentially the best day. Ever!
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