The London Marathon

Andrew Birch

The London Marathon 

Big BenIf you're planning a trip to England and you're a sports fan, then why not go during spring, and see the London Marathon as well? Set over a mostly flat course that takes runners on a picturesque journey around the River Thames, this challenging 26-mile race starts at Blackheath and finishes at The Mall, by St. James Park right in the heart of the city.

Wheelchair CompetitorInspired by the success of the marathon in New York, the first London Marathon took place in 1981, featuring almost 7,000 participants. Today the race is one of the most important marathons in the world, with over 36,000 runners taking part in recent years, made up of professional athletes and amateurs from around the world. Anyone can put themselves to the test by competing in this historic race, with four different groups available: Elite, IPC World Cup, Wheelchair, and Club, Charity and Ballot.

Costume RunnersThe London Marathon is a celebration of sport and seen by the majority of runners as a great way to raise money for charity. Costumes are encouraged, with participants dressing up as anything from popular movie characters to famous monuments and buildings! Notable exponents include Lloyd Scott, who took on the route in a 130lb diving suit for charity and set a course record for the slowest time, completing the marathon in six days. The race is the largest annual fund raising event in the world, and past races have earned up to $75 million for countless charitable causes.

Running Past Big BenAttracting thousands of spectators every year, the route takes runners past major landmarks in the city, including the Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, and Tower Bridge. Many onlookers travel from far afield to see the athletes push themselves through the final leg of the race, running by spectacular sights, such as the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and even Buckingham Palace.

Running through the streets of LondonTaking part is, without a doubt, a truly unique way to see the most popular attractions in London. However, if you prefer to visit at a more relaxed pace, then take the chance to stay in one of the many hotels in London and watch the event from the sidelines. Be sure to book well ahead of time, so you don't miss out on this incredible sporting spectacle! 

Written by Andrew Birch