Virgin Money London Marathon

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About
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.
Participants
London Marathon
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Calendar
Sun 3rd Oct 2021
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LocationPin
London, United Kingdom
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Star
4.9
(48 Reviews)
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The event experience
Atmosphere

Based on 40,000 participants

Elevation

<5m elevation gain per km

Where and when
Location
Great Cross Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8QY, UK
Start times
London Marathon:
10:00am
Races summary
Here's what races are available for Virgin Money London Marathon
Route information
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.
What's included
  • Finisher's Medal
  • T-Shirt
  • Goody Bag
  • Marshalled Course
  • Water Stations
  • Aid Stations
  • Freebies at the ExCel centre
  • Life Long Memories
Train
How to get there
Great Cross Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8QY, UK
Get full directionsExternalLink
By Train
The easiest way to get to the three start areas (Blue Start, Red Start and Green Start) is to travel by train.
Blue Start or Good For Age runners should travel to Blackheath station.
Red Start runners should travel to either Greenwich station or Maze Hill station.
Green Start runners should travel to Maze Hill station.
Travel on all of the above trains is free to competitors. You must present your running number to a member of staff at the station in order to take advantage of this offer. To begin planning your journey by train before you receive your Final Instructions magazine, please visit Southeastern, National Rail or Transport for London.
By Car
Competitors are advised not to to travel by car, but if there is no other alternative you should remember the following:
Roads in the area will close at 07:00, with local diversions in operation in the Greenwich, Charlton and Deptford areas. There is limited parking available in Blackheath
If you intend to leave your car at the start, you will need to retrieve it after the event once you have reached the finish in The Mall. There is NO parking in the vicinity of the finish.
What happens at the finish line:
After you have collected your belongings, you should move away from the baggage lorry area as quickly as possible. Please leave the secure area via the designated exit point only.
There is a runner meet and greet area where you will be able to meet your friends and family at one of the meeting points on The Mall and in Horse Guards Roads and Horse Guards Parade. These meeting points will be marked with letters of the alphabet, so you can arrange to meet at your family initial or another pre-arranged letter.
International runners have their own dedicated meet and greet area in The Mall, close to Admiralty Arch.
Event day 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.
London Marathon Events's logo
London Marathon Events
The team behind the Virgin Money London Marathon also organises a whole host of other great events including Prudential RideLondon, The Vitality London 10,000 & Westminster Mile, Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine and our newest event, The Vitality Big Half.
View more London Marathon Events events
Crowds
Spectator Info
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.
FAQ's
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/
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At what time does the London Marathon start?
The mass start of the London Marathon starts at 10:10 am on race morning
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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.
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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/
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Reviews
4.9
48 reviews
CrowdsIncredible crowds
BigMedalAmazing medal
FestivalFestival vibes
Star
5.0
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.
Star
5.0
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!
Ed H-M
Star
5.0
Did the London Marathon in 2019
An amazing atmosphere along the whole route added to an amazing well organised day. Great pre and post race experience also
Star
5.0
Did the London Marathon in 2019
My first ever marathon was an amazing experience at the VLM 2019. The race was so well organised and the volunteers were so helpful and friendly. The race itself was mostly enjoyable and the ginormous crowds were fantastic. I highly recommend this event for a beginner.
Star
5.0
Did the London Marathon in 2019
I am in full love with this event which I have run twice, 2017 and 2019. Super well organised, amazing volunteers and has the most cheering crowds in the world! With several endorphin-boost locations - Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Warf and Big Ben - it's a MUST race!
Star
5.0
Did the London Marathon in 2019
London Marathon 2019 - What an amazing weekend. Honestly one of the best experiences (if not the best) of my life. I felt like a child in a sweet shop at the expo on the Saturday and then there was race day - just wow. I finished in 3:15:08 but I actually ran an extra 0.3 miles so would have been even quicker - oops! The race was fantastic, the crowds were unreal. Hearing so many people cheer my name was incredible. I had run my first marathon in Brighton two weeks before and ran London so much more intelligently, finishing strong in the last 4 miles and absolutely in control. It would have been easy to get carried away and go off too fast but I knew all too well the feeling of 'The Wall' and paced my race to a near on straight line, which allowed me to enjoy every second. Turning the last corner, passing the famous 385 yards to go sign and heading onto the most amazing Union Jack emblazoned home straight was such an unbelievable feeling. It really was one of the best days of my life and I was so happy. The London Marathon is organised seamlessly and absolutely lives up to the hype and more so. You have to experience it!
Star
4.7
Did the London Marathon in 2019
Simply the best marathon ever! The atmosphere is incredible with supporters for the full 26.2 miles, you'll look forward to the 2 tunnels where you can blow your nose and eat a jelly baby with your mouth open. Nice flat course which passes through Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and finally the Embankment, finishing with an epic view of Buckingham Palace. Fantastically well organised, just need a few more porta loos at the race start.
Star
4.3
Did the London Marathon in 2019
The only negative is the meet up areas at the end. When everything was within horseguards, yes it was busy, but only runner an their supporters were there thus effective. This year we had to fight around charities, tour guides (inc groups), general sightseers, and masses of additional race supporters, utter chaos at a detriment to the tired runners the area is provided for.Public crossings and signage to crossings of the course were also mis represented regarding directional access causing further chaos and many to not see their loved ones around the final mile, this exacerbated by two charities being given sole access to 300m of pavement as a private area yet remaining largely unused.
Star
4.7
Did the London Marathon in 2019
Marathon jealousy is something many people experience when watching the marathon or volunteering. I most certainly felt that way after I volunteered last year during sixth form for the baggage. I then set myself the goal of one day running the London Marathon. Fast forward a year later, and here I am a finisher. I still cant quite believe it. As for the event its self theres not too much to say. The atmosphere is incredible, tower bridge and the way back along embankment were definitely my favourites. Strangers cheering you on for pretty much the whole way provides a buzz like nothing else. Id gone into the race with the mindset of finishing in under four hours. I soon learnt around mile 15 (when the aches and pains began to set it) that time was irrelevant. Just being able to finish is an incredible achievement and Im so glad I did. I whole heartedly recommend to get involved and sing up. Just go for it, 3 hours or 8 hours it doesnt matter. Being able to finish it is huge and incredible.
Star
4.7
Did the London Marathon in 2019
Course: the course is good, really flat, but I would prefer a few nicer areas rather than the Isle of Dogs.Orga: this is super well organised, from email come, to the running show, number pick up, getting via public transport to the start and funnelling the finishers. Ive not seen a better organised event. Atmosphere: London is the best - proud to be a Londoner just for this event alone.Is there anything I would change: yes, do they really need to hand out those huge Luzorade bottles? No one can drink that much of this stuff. Loved the seaweed thingis.
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Find out more from members of the community who did the event last year, or those signed up.
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Recent Questions
richard Wallace
7/23/2021
regisration
S Robitaille
6/16/2021
Hi, does anyone know what the waves times are? (I am trying to work out what I would have put and likewise my friend!). Thank you
Steph Ede
8/24/2021
Hey! I'm not 100% sure but you will receive an email with all of your event day info in the week leading up to the event :-)
Sam Browne (Team LDT)
8/3/2020
What are the qualifying times for good for age? How does that work?
Tom Elliott
11/24/2020
The Good for Age program allows you to guarantee a place at the London Marathon if you have a fast enough time at a qualifying event. For example, if you are a women aged between 18 and 39 and have run a sub 3:45:00 marathon at a qualifying event you can register as 'good for age'. There is a limited number of good for age places, and they are filled fastest first (rather than a lottery). So get training! :) Unfortunately good for age is really complicated this year due to the postponement (as they have changed the times between 2020 and 2021), but you can find the full details here: https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/how-to-enter/good-age-entry/index.html Hope that helps :)
Sam Browne (Team LDT)
11/24/2020
amazing - thanks so much Tom!
Constantine Louloudis
8/3/2020
If it's cancelled, is there a large alternative event (in person or virtual) we can do so we can still run it and raise funds for our chosen charities?
Ariana Murray Wells
9/18/2020
I'm not sure but I heard they're doing a virtual event on the same day which is meant to be good, so you can still raise money for charity. Doing a marathon under your own steam is so different though, hats off to all the runners taking part!
Maxine Roberts
4/29/2019
Do I need to have run a marathon before running the London marathon?
Steph Ede
4/29/2019
Hello, just to let you know that you do not need to have a run a marathon to enter this one, for many people the London Marathon is peoples first one and is widely regard as the best one to do for first timers. All the best!
Ariana Murray Wells
7/31/2020
Totally agree!
Ariana Murray Wells
7/31/2020
Hey Maxine 👋 My first marathon was London, and the longest run I did before was about 17/18 miles. I think it's better psychologically not to the do the full distance on your own beforehand, as the crowd support will carry you a long way and be a great distraction. The first few miles absolutely fly by. Hope it went well!
Manon VT
8/5/2020
I completely agree with you Ariana! It's also such an amazing feeling finishing the distance for the first time on race day.
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