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Marathons in London

The marathon distance is 26.2 miles, or 42.2km. They are often seen as one of the main goals in a runner's lifetime. Completing one is a real feat of mental and physical resilience, and requires a serious amount of commitment and training if you are seeking a bragworthy time. The London Marathon is one of the most famous and biggest marathons in the world, and is one of the six world marathon majors. Each year it attracts over 40,000 participants and 800,000 spectators. It is also a relatively flat and fast course, so it is a great opportunity for anyone seeking a new PB. The London Marathon is also famous for its fundraising ability - it has raised over £1 billion for different charities since it started in 1981. There are other marathons in London available, which don't have as large crowds but access some stunning scenery, such as long the Thames path.

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About Marathons in London

The famous marathon distance (26.2 miles) is loved by participants and spectators alike. People run marathons for many different reasons, either for a loved one, for a personal goal or for a great cause. In 2016, Shannon Foudy became the one millionth runner to complete the London Marathon.

What are the best marathons?

If you're thinking of running a marathon, London is not only the most popular but also one of the flattest around, so it's a great place to push for a PB. But, it is balloted and you can expect stiff competition for places. If you do miss out on a place, there are still many other great races right here in London. The Richmond Marathon, part of the RunFest, has a comparatively tiny field (around 400 entries) but follows an especially pretty route through Kew Gardens. If you need something a little more low key, Hermes Running do the Thames Meander Marathon & Half in spring, summer and winter.

How long will it take me to run a marathon?

The average time for London Marathon finishers in 2018 was 3h48m for males and 4h23m for females. Both these times are about 20 minutes faster than the global average. Top tip, don't worry about what others are doing, or who overtakes you, stick to your game plan and enjoy the ride.

If you're interested in knowing how fast you can really go in London, the world record for women was set in London by our very own Paula Radcliffe in 2003 at 2h15m and is still proving tough to beat. The men's record was beaten in Berlin in 2018 by Eliud Kipchoge and at 2:01:39 is pushing close to breaking the elusive 2 hour barrier.

How do you train for a marathon?

You definitely need to invest in some training for a marathon, so check out our training plan, with nutrition and race tips included. Training for a marathon takes time and dedication. We recommend starting 16 weeks prior to race day, regardless of whether you are entering your first race or looking to hit a new PB.