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On the Route

The details shown on this page are based on how the organization was the year before.
If you know of any changes please send a mail to keep your fellow runners up to date. - thank you


 

Virgin London Marathon Route
2016 again contains a slight alteration at mile 19 (Canary Wharf):
course map 2016

 

Masses Merging

The blue and red routes converge just before the 3 mile marker. For the next half mile both groups continue to use their own carriageway.

Runners from the green start merge with the blue route at 1200meters.


Toilets

600 meters on from the blue start nature's equipment for men provides a clear advantage. Built like a bypass parallel to the road there is an endless pissoir. To enter at the front and to leave at the rear men could do it jogging.

But on route you will find 500 portaloo toilet cabins. From mile 2 onwards, every second mile they are clearly signed "TOILETS 200 METERS AHEAD" and at the place "TOILETS HERE".


Timing On The Route

Since 2002 the organizers have provided chip times only. On route you will get your time every 5K, and at Halfway. Time is taken at various other distances just to check nobody is cheating.


Distance Markers 

Every single mile is cleary marked by big banners on both sides of the road. And at every mile (except 26) there is a digital clock to show race time.

Also clearly marked are the distances in kilometers every 5K and the Halfwaypoint. Every single kilometer is marked by a small sign.


Drinks

From mile 3 to 25 there are water stations at every mile. At both sides of the road they offer Nestlé water (not sparkling). It is served in pre-opend plastic bottles of 330ml.
At mile 5, 10, 15, 19, 23 Lucozade Sport is offered, this is an Energy Drink in pre-opend plastic bottles of 330ml.

There are no more provisions offered by the organizers. However the excited spectators very often present cookies, fruit, coke etc. to the runners.
When approaching the drink stations please make sure that you do not alter your direction suddenly. Most times it will be advisable to use not the first table but move on near to the end of the station where it won't be crowded.


Medical Aid

... is provided by St. John Ambulance around the course. Their sites are mostly close to the drink stations. If you are in trouble ask officials at the drink stations for directions to the nearest medical point.

You will notice the helpful St. John people while they are offering Vaseline to the runners.

Within its 31 years the London Marathon had to face 9 fatalities. Please, check your health regularly.


Showers

.. are provided six times along the route at mile 9, 13, 17, 19, 22 and 23,5. They are designed to run through, so you don't have to run a diversion. The showers are signed in advance by "SHOWERS 200 METERS AHEAD".


Traffic

Officially the roads are closed only to provide a finish within 5 hours. However, the organizers seem to stretch this as long as they can. But you might be asked to keep to the footpath if you are determined to finish.

The finish officials will still be there until 7.30pm to take your time and give you a smile.


The Sweep-Up-Bus

... drives behind (in) the field at the speed of a 7-hour-runner. Your running number works as your underground ticket in case you have had enough before approaching the finish line.

At the Isle of Dogs (just when it begins to hurt) there are 8 stations of the Dockland Light Railway, and at Tower Bridge resp. Tower you find a tube station. If you have the bad luck to have to stop already at Greenwich, there also is a DLR station.


The highlights (1)

The first famous sight along the route you will reach at mile 6 in Greenwich. Here the spectators stand at both sides of the road in several rows. Cutty Sark is no longer circled by the runners due to reconstruction works.

During the following part the race gets calmer leading through less attractive suburbs, until suddenly after mile 12 you find yourself approaching Tower Bridge. Here not only the crowds are waiting for you, media workers film and interview running VIPs and funnily costumed runners. Leaving Tower Bridge remember to pose for your individual photo.

Passing the Tower Bridge one turns right, which might be a bit tricky for your mind as the finish lies to the left. Most of the runners will spot fast competitors on the other side of the road. They have already completed the long circle along the Isle of Dogs and are 9 miles in front of you.


The Highlights (2)

If you keep up with 8min/mile speed you will be happy to meet the elite men at half-way-point flying in the other direction on the other side of the road. They have already run 22 miles. The women elite start 45min earlier (9.00am) and they have disappeared already.

Running around the peninsula Isle of Dogs sometimes is described as tiring and boring. I found it tiring but still entertaining. The road narrows and let you take in the atmosphere as you pass several pubs with live music. Then you pass under Canary Wharf Tower. On the way out of the isle you have to ascend slightly.

Approaching the Tower again have in mind that the runners on the other side of the road still have to do 9 miles more than you.


The Highlights (3)

With the Tower behind you the route descends into a big tunnel. Another place to shout again what sounded to me like Ogi-Ogi-Ogi, oi-oi-oi (no idea what the meaning is), but meanwhile the running heroes got a little calmer.

What follows is long straight stretch along the Embankment, the broad road parallel to the Thames, until finally you are happy to see Big Ben and to turn right in direction of Buckingham Palace.

Now even the most tired runner should raise his head, and the final mile is pure enjoyment, passing Westminster Abbey, shuffling along Birdcage Walk to proceed to the front of Buckingham Palace. A final right turn at the royal victorian fountain and you will appreciate to see the finish line just in front of you.
 

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Following page: Having Finished


 

 

Jenny Wood Allen, Dundee, 
 

ran her first ever marathon when she was 71. Till today she holds the world record for women older than 70. On April 16th, 2000 she was the oldest runner of the day. In 2001 sadly she had to give up after being knocked down in an accident caused by an overtaking runner. In 2002 she finished once more but claimed this was her last one - let's see, she is just 91. (photo: BBC)


three Elvises circling Cutty Sark
(photo: The Times)


between Embankment and Big Wheel 
the photo suppresses the Thames
(photo: BBC)



Raymond Challis (1946-2005) of Ely,
died at mile 7 on 17/04/2005
running his 8th LM.
The experienced runner (3:42) suffered from
an undiscovered cardiomyopathy.
"He died doing something he loved and he is probably running outside right now,"
said the Rev at the grave.


the winner's smile by Tegla Loroupe, 2000
(photo: BBC)


the three Elvises made it to the finish
(photo: The Times)