If you know a London Marathon runner, you will know that the nerves have begun to kick in with only a few days until race day.
A record number of people applied to run the London Marathon this year – the highest number of applicants for any marathon in the world. It looks set to be the bigger than ever, with record amounts of money being raised for charity.
Watching the marathon on television just isn’t the same – if you want to absorb the electric atmosphere, and cheer on the runners you need to find a good vantage point. Drinks stations and live music will be lined up along the marathon route to provide the crowds with refreshments and add to the community spirit.
What time does the London Marathon start?
- 8.55am – the elite wheelchair athletes race
- 9am – the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
- 9.15am – the elite women’s race
- 10am – the elite men’s race
The main body of the race ‘the mass race’ follows behind these times and the Queen will push the button at 10am from Windsor Castle to start the mass race this year.
What is the London Marathon 2018 route?
The start line is in Blackheath, then the runners go through Charlton and Woolwich and then through the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The runners then pace over the River Thames at Tower Bridge.
The race then passes through the east end of London, past Canary Wharf before approaching the Embankment and finishing on The Mall alongside St James’ Park.
If you want to see the whole of the historic route, a helicopter is by far the greatest place to view it from. There are so many famous London landmarks on the marathon route that you can see from the air, including Buckingham Palace at the marathon finish line.
Where are the best viewing spots along the London Marathon 2018 route?
Choosing on where to view the runners is a tough decision, simply because there is so much choice!
If you want to get a taste of the London Marathon atmosphere but you are not watching out for anyone in particular, then the areas with live music and entertainment will provide a great vibe. However, these areas become very crowded which would be frustrating if you were looking out for friend or family member.
If you want to soak up the carnival atmosphere try:
- The 6 mile mark – in 2018 for the first time, the Cutty Sark will be open to members of the public to enjoy one of the most amazing views of the runners from the main deck
- The 11 mile mark – with large crowds around Rotherhithe Station area
- The 12/13 mile mark – Tower Bridge is the most famous area for spectators and television crews, so also by far the busiest. There will be an electric atmosphere for those seeking a party vibe!
The usually popular 15 mile mark viewing spot at Heron Quay roundabout and the 18 mile mark on Marsh Wall and the will not be available due to building works this year.
- The 17 mile mark – this is the perfect spot if you have children with you as Mudchute Farm is nearby and there are smaller crowds than other popular areas
- The 18 mile mark – Canary Wharf – less crowds but you can still soak up the atmosphere and with the choice of many bars, restaurants and cafes
- The 23 mile mark – Tower Hill – be prepared for noise, as this is the London Marathons official cheering zone!
- Mile 25 – the live music zone will be around near The Strand area and Waterloo Bridge
It is worth noting that the race doubles back on itself between Mile 13 and Mile 14 and again between Miles 21 and 22, so at these points you will be able to see the runners twice.
Where is the best place to watch a friend or family member run the London marathon?
If you are watching the race to support someone that you know, it is best to head to a quieter area so that they can see you and you can give them that extra support and motivation when they need it:
- The 8 mile point – Evelyn Street/ Deptford.
- The 16 mile point – Westferry Road – the runners will be likely feeling the pain at this point so will need to hear your encouragement
- The 20 mile point – Poplar High Street – this is a much quieter area so a great place if you want your particular runner to see a friendly face and hear your distinct voice to spur them on!
Best places to eat and drink along the London Marathon route 2018
If you don’t fancy running, the pubs and bars in London will be heaving with customers, but this creates a memorable celebratory atmosphere. After all, cheering is thirsty work, too!
You can choose from relaxed pubs for an informal beer where you may spot an exhausted runner after the race having that first pint or sophisticated and luxurious venues for those who want to commemorate the day and treat themselves:
This pub full of period features is right opposite the Cutty Sark – a landmark on the route – and the runners will run right past you
Enjoy a special marathon brunch at Boisdale of Canary Wharf and enjoy brunch with champagne or a bloody mary as you watch the runners go by. This place provides a little bit of luxury – there is even an oyster bar and a cigar terrace
If you choose an outside table you will be able to raise a glass to the runners as they pass over Tower Bridge
Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub has a special marathon menu for the day and drinking stations for you to enjoy as you cheer the runners on
Where can I get free food if I’m running the London Marathon 2018?
If you are running in the marathon this year, there are many London bars, pubs and eateries that want to congratulate you. Just show your medal and you will be given a variety of freebies. Here are just a few:
- Free burger
Not only will Mac & Wild give runners a free burger for their post race protein and carb fix, but the burger is award-winning itself! In 2017 the Veni-Moo burger was voted London’s best burger
- Free kebab
If you show your medal at Bababoom you will receive a free Middle Eastern kebab on Marathon day and also the day after the race. The food here is healthy with an innovative and fresh take on traditional kebabs. They are also running Medal Mondays, which includes a free side with every kebab when you bring your medal in to the restaurant
- Free pizza
Franco Manca is gifting London Marathon medal holders with a free pizza on Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd April at all of its pizzerias around London
- Free drink
Skylon restaurant is offering all medal holders a free drink with a spectacular view of London. After running the marathon and then looking over the City sipping a celebratory tipple you really will feel on top of the world.
We have all gasped at those heroes running for charity in chainmail and armour, antique diving suits or walking telephone boxes – there was once even a man with a fridge on his back! So head over to one of the locations on the London Marathon route this Sunday – the runners deserve and need the support of the crowd to push them past the proverbial wall and on to the finish line and you can enjoy yourself at the same time!
For those of you who are running the London Marathon, good luck from The London Helicopter!