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London Marathon


The Flora London Marathon

Usually the second Sunday in April from 9:00am
Founded in 1981, the London Marathon is the largest race of its kind in the world. Spanning a staggering 26.2 miles, its runners enjoy some of London's finest landmarks as they face the challenge of completing this historic race. Every April, 30,000 runners flood the streets of the capital to do battle with themselves and each other. Serious competitors mingle with charity fun-runners in the spring sunshine as the 26.2 mile route comes alive to the sounds of bands, cheering crowds and pounding feet. The race is the biggest of all city marathons and attracts many of the world's top athletes. It kicks off at Greenwich Park and Blackheath, continues through Surrey Quays, Brunel Rd, Tooley St, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London, Embankment, Parliament Square and Birdcage Walk, with a royal finish on The Mall by Buckingham Palace. And you can join them!  There's always plenty of entertainment along the route and many runners will be 'dressed to impress' in novelty costumes. Each year about half a million spectators line the route and 5 million tune in to the BBC's live coverage.


Where to Watch...

From The DLR or Jubilee Line
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is one of the best ways of getting to a viewing spot along the route. Try one of the following stations:
South Quay
Canary Wharf
Or head to the Jubilee Line:
Canada Water
Canary Wharf
All the above stations are near the marathon route. For those who want to get a good view of the Finish Line, try Westminster Tube Station or Charing Cross and walk across to The Mall. Spectators need to arrive early.
From The Thistle Tower Hotel
Situated on the North Bank of the River Thames, the Thistle Tower offers splendid views of the London Marathon as the runners come over Tower Bridge. A large modern hotel, the Tower offers all the facilities the discerning guest could hope for. Overlooking St Katharine's Dock, it is perfectly placed as a riverside retreat.
For more information or to book online please click here.
From the River
Of course, the best way of all to watch all those people putting themselves through intense physical pain is while being pampered aboard a luxurious riverboat. Thames Luxury Charters runs a cruise that starts at Tower Pier, before going down to Greenwich to see the start. She then cruises to Tower Bridge to see the thousands of entrants stream over the Bridge. There's also a two-course brunch and live jazz on offer.
For more information or to book online please click here.


The Elite Women's race gets underway from the Blue Start at Shooter's Hill Road.
The Wheelchair race gets underway from the Blue Start at Shooter's Hill Road.
The Elite Men's race gets underway from the Blue Start at Shooter's Hill Road.
The Celebritites and Older Competitors race gets underway from the Green Start on St John's Park.
The main, Mass Start, race gets underway from the Red Start on Charlton Way.

The Facts...

Greenwich Park
Start Time
Between 9:00 and 9:45
The Mall (between Green Park and St James's Park)
26.2 miles
Number of Entrants
Approx. 32,000
Record Holders
Men - Khalid Khannouchi (USA) finished in 2.05:38 in 2002 
Women - Paula Radcliffe (GBR) finished in 2.15:25 in 2003

The History...

26.2 Miles
It was 1908 and London was hosting the Olympic Games. The organisers were faced with a dilemma. The Royal Box lay just 385 yards beyond the 26 mile finish line. So, not wishing to offend members of the Royal Family, the marathon distance was extended to 26 miles 385 yards to allow the finish line to fall infront of the Royal Box! Ever since this momentous change, the marathon has been run to precisely 26.2 miles.

Did you know?...?

The London Marathon provides:
 bottles of water
 portable toilets
 metres of barriers
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