Virgin Money London Marathon
28 April 2019
The Virgin Money London Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors and the undisputed king of the UK race calendar. Over 400,000 hopefuls went into the ballot for the 2019 event - a new record.The famous route takes athletes past London's historic sites, and crowds that have to be seen to be believed. In 2016 runners raised more that 59 million for charity, breaking the record for an annual single-day charity fundraising event for the 10th year in a row. The event has raised over 1bn for charity since 1981 and completing it is a lifetime ambition for every runner.
Well, aside from incredible memories, tonnes of kudos and jealous friends, you'll be swamped in free stuff. Expect a finisher's medal and t-shirt, a goody bag including health snacks and offers of post-race offers and discounts. That's not to mention the London Marathon Expo at the ExCel, where there'll be plenty of interesting talks, training tips and advice from the pros plus lots of tasters and freebies.
Drinks Stations:Buxton Natural Mineral WaterEvery mile after mile 3 through to 25, apart from miles 7 and 11, where Lucozade Sport is available. Water is supplied in 250ml race bottles with a flip-topLucozade SportAvailable at miles 7, 11, 15, 19 and 23Lucozade Sport Carbo Gel stations can be found on The Highway at miles 14 and 21.5.Compostable cupsThree Drinks Stations will be trialling compostable cups instead of bottles this year. Water stations at miles 10 and 19 and Lucozade Sport at mile 23 will offer drinks in compostable cups. Try drinking from a cup in training before Race Day.RecyclingWe work to recycle as many bottles as we can and you can help. Bottles are easier to recycle if they are empty so remember to #DrinkDrainDrop – squeeze out any remaining liquid and drop your empty bottle to the side of the road. Local authority cleansing teams will collect the discarded bottles, which will then be sent for recycling.
Start times:There are three Start Areas at the Virgin Money London Marathon – Red, Blue, and Green – and the colour of your running number indicates your Start Area. Each Start Area has eight zones – numbered 1 to 8 - and you will be informed of your Start Zone when you register at Expo.The zone you have been allocated to is based on your predicted finish time when you entered. Please note: You cannot change your Start Area or move to an earlier Start Zone. However, if you think your predicted finish time is now too fast, you will be allowed to join a later Start Zone.To make sure the start of your race goes smoothly, you just need to do the following: Go to your correct Start Area Drop off the kitbag you have been provided Join your correct Start ZoneFollow the instructions of the marshalsKitbags and baggage lorriesThe PA systems at each start area will tell you when to put your kitbag onto the appropriate baggage vehicle in the start area.You should hand your bag in at the lorry with the number range which corresponds to your running number. Staff on the lorries will only accept official Virgin Money London Marathon kitbags, so please ensure you have stuck your self-adhesive running number label to the kitbag where indicated.You will then be able to retrieve your kitbag from the baggage lorries after you finish. Once you have deposited your kitbag on the lorry, you will not be able to retrieve your belongings until you arrive at the finish.
Getting to the startYou can find all the information you need to travel to the start on Race Day in your Final Instructions, and you can read more about how the Start process will work below.You can get to your designated start area via the following transport options:By trainThe easiest way to get to the three start areas (Blue Start, Red Start and Green Start) is to travel by train.Blue Start or Good For Age runners should travel to Blackheath stationRed Start runners should travel to either Greenwich station or Maze Hill stationGreen Start runners should travel to Maze Hill stationTravel on all of the above trains is free to competitors. You must present your running number to a member of staff at the station in order to take advantage of this offer. To begin planning your journey by train before you receive your Final Instructions magazine, please visit Southeastern, National Rail or Transport for London.MBNA Thames ClippersMBNA Thames Clippers River Bus services run from key central London piers. Book your tickets in advance at www.thamesclippers.com.By carWe DO NOT advise competitors to travel by car, but if there is no other alternative you should remember the following:Roads in the area will close at 07:00, with local diversions in operation in the Greenwich, Charlton and Deptford areas. There is limited parking available in BlackheathIf you intend to leave your car at the start, you will need to retrieve it after the event once you have reached the finish in The Mall. There is NO parking in the vicinity of the finish.Coach PassThe coach pass application system is currently closed and will open closer to the 2019 event. Please note it is mandatory that your coach driver has a pass and displays it clearly on the vehicle's dashboard/windscreen. Coach routes to the start are available in the final instructions.What happens at the finish line:After you have collected your belongings, you should move away from the baggage lorry area as quickly as possible. Please leave the secure area via the designated exit point only.There is a runner meet and greet area where you will be able to meet your friends and family at one of the meeting points on The Mall and in Horse Guards Roads and Horse Guards Parade. These meeting points will be marked with letters of the alphabet, so you can arrange to meet at your family initial or another pre-arranged letter.International runners have their own dedicated meet and greet area in The Mall, close to Admiralty Arch.
The Virgin Money London Marathon takes place at the perfect time of year – not too hot, not too cold with little likelihood of snow…believe that and you’ll believe anything! Although April does appear to be the perfect time of year to undertake an endurance race of this nature, the British weather is as unpredictable as England’s football team so you need to be prepared for all eventualities, and that includes your kit.What to look for in your kitThe best thing that your kit should provide for long distance events such as the marathon is the ability to wick away sweat, to avoid any discomfort caused by wet kit. But there are also specific things you should look for in all aspects of your training gear:SocksBasic sports socks will absorb sweat and will move about in the shoe which will only facilitate blisters. For a run such as a marathon you should definitely invest in some fitted running-specific socks. Anatomically (left and right specific) fitted socks with Climacool fabric will reduce the incidence of blistering.Shorts and T-shirtsNon-technical garments tend to be heavy to start with but can get much heavier with rain or sweat. This means that you're not only wearing extra weight while you run, but because they're not quick drying you'll also remain wet throughout your run. Look for wicking fabrics such as adidas Climacool fabrics which not only effectively wick away sweat but also feature extra ventilation at the key body zones (which differ from the men’s product to the women’s product). adidas products also include a Formotion cut (which means they are cut on a 3D model as opposed to flat, like other brands), ensuring the garments sit well on the body during any motion so you don’t even notice it’s on.TightsAgain adidas Formotion cut and lycra content ensures ease of motion, as well as additional support on the muscle groups which can be vulnerable during cold snaps or when fatigued. Furthermore, being peppered with Scotchlite ensures you are visible to traffic. Many women (and some men) will prefer a ¾ tight or short tight to a conventional short in warmer weather. Many men will use a short tight, not just for the supportive lycra benefits around the major muscle groups but to prevent the chaffing that they may get when wearing a short.JacketsFormotion cuts again apply, plus there is the added benefit of buffering the rain. Fitted, wickable, quick drying, lightweight fibres are the key things to look for in jackets to ensure they’re fit for your running needs. As you will be training a lot in the darker months, reflective materials should also be a must. We have several jackets in our range and pockets, removable sleeves and mp3 pockets are all things that make them versatile pieces of kit.On the dayIt is always important to wear what you're comfortable in, and make sure that you've already worn and washed the clothes that you're planning on wearing on the day. As well as your own personal needs the weather will play a key factor in your apparel of choice. Those of you planning to be on your feet for some time will have to pay attention to the fact that you will be exposed for a prolonged period over which time your body temperature could fluctuate. Here's some things to consider:In mild weather you should look at including some lightweight cover-up pieces like a long sleeve t-shirt and a ¾ or short tight.If it's due to be very hot and sunny, consider wearing a t-shirt instead of a vest as well as a cap to avoid the risk of sunburn (especially if you are expecting to be taking 5 or 6 hours as opposed to 2 or 3). Quicker runners (sub 4 hours) will prefer lighter, minimal kit as you will be running more intensely for a shorter period.Unseasonably cold weather should make faster runners consider slightly warmer layers whilst the slower participants should consider tights and lightweight jackets that can be zipped and unzipped en route - plus, the pocket detail has a practical benefit for carrying nutritional snacks.A pair of lightweight Climacool gloves in mild or cold weather are invaluable for all runners as cold hands can be a very uncomfortable distraction and can have a knock-on effect to overall body temperature. If the conditions warm up they can easily be discarded, or if you’re reluctant to get rid of them they can always be stuffed in a waistband with minimal interference.
The Virgin Money London Marathon AppThe 2019 official Virgin Money London Marathon App will be available ahead of Race Day.Getting aroundWith all roads closed (visit our road closures page for more details), the only way to get around is by public transport. London Underground, London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) lay on extra services on Race Day, and this is by far the best way to get around.Before setting off, you need to prepare – spectating isn’t quite as tough as marathon training but it still needs some thought:Travel light – you will be standing for hours on end, so keep your belongings to a minimum and try and leave as many valuables as you can at home.Comfortable clothes (especially shoes) are a must. You should be prepared for a typical April day in London – sun, showers and wind.It’s busy! If you are a regular commuter, think rush hour. If not, think what it’s like when you attend a concert or festival. You will often have to queue and some stations may be forced to shut temporarily while staff clear the crowds.Expect to do lots of walking, including stairs and escalators – you should think carefully before bringing young children; pushchairs can also be troublesome.Places to avoidIf you want to follow your loved ones and try to get a glimpse of them as they pass, we suggest that you avoid very crowded areas, where it can be difficult to find a viewing spot, hard to move around and tough to get in and out.Busy areas include Greenwich town centre and the Cutty Sark. While the ship is undoubtedly a beautiful backdrop for the race, the crowds that are attracted here can make spectating uncomfortable and transport in and around Greenwich becomes particularly busy. We strongly advise spectators to avoid this area.Tower Bridge is always extremely busy, as is anywhere from mile 24 to the finish in The Mall. Obviously many of you will eventually end up in this area later on in the day as you head to the runner meet and greet area in Horse Guards Road.Spectator routes from central London stationsThe mass race starts at 10:00 from Blackheath and Greenwich Park. We don’t suggest accompanying your runner to the start. The assembly areas are for runners only, so you will have to say goodbye well before race time anyway. There are a couple of options. All runners are entitled to free travel to the start on Southeastern trains from Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street and Victoria. If you were to say goodbye at any one of these stations, then it’s an easy transfer onto the London Underground to make your way onto the marathon route, get your spot and probably have time for some breakfast too!We encourage runners to get to the starts early – the first trains leave central London at 06:50 – so if you travel into London together you will have plenty of time. You won’t be bored – the elite wheelchair race starts at 08:55, followed by the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup (ambulatory) at 09:00 and the elite women at 09:15. The elite men will start at 10:00, followed by the masses. From Charing Cross you can take the Northern line southbound to Waterloo. Transferring onto the Jubilee line eastbound gives a number of options. From London Bridge station you can walk along Tooley Street to Tower Bridge Road and see the runners just before they cross Tower Bridge at mile 12. Or, walk over London Bridge into the City of London – the race passes underneath London Bridge.If you are early enough (between 08:40 and 09:30) you will see the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon age-group races, which start just east of London Bridge. Later on, the main race passes by at mile 23.If you keep walking you will reach Bank station, a major underground interchange. It also connects with the DLR, so you can head east out towards Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs to see the race between miles 14 to 21. Canada Water station on the Jubilee line is a short walk to mile nine at Surrey Quays. If you get back on the Jubilee line eastbound you can get to Canary Wharf (mile 19).Another option from Charing Cross is to travel south one stop to Embankment and connect with the District & Circle lines eastbound. Get off at Tower Hill and you can watch the runners from a number of locations in this area BUT it will be very, very busy.The best option is to walk from Tower Hill station to Tower Gateway on the DLR and head east out towards the Isle of Dogs.Cannon Street and Victoria are also on the District and Circle lines – see suggested connections above.Runner meet and greet areaIt can be very busy, so please take note of the following advice. There will be meeting points in Horse Guards Road and Horse Guards Parade with areas marked by letters of the alphabet – meet at your family initial or at another pre-arranged letter.Please meet your runner at one of these meeting points. DO NOT congregate around the exit from the secure area at the top of Horse Guards Road. This causes massive congestion for exiting runners as well as other health and safety issues for the large numbers of people in this area. Both the Police and our security personnel are under strict instructions not to allow people to congregate here and to move them along.Heavy mobile phone traffic on all networks means you may find it difficult to get a signal in and around the finish area. Therefore, do not rely on mobile phones but plan where to meet in advance.Runners are more likely to run slower than their predicted time. After crossing the Finish Line it will take a minimum of 15 minutes and closer to 30-40 minutes to reach the runner meet and greet area. Remember to build these factors into your arrangements when planning to meet your runner.And finally...Make sure you have the details of your runner’s race number. It is the easiest way for our information point to identify them on our database.
The Virgin Money London Marathon receives incredible volunteer support and we have approximately 6,000 volunteers who join the team and play a crucial role in the delivery of the event. How to get involvedBelow are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Virgin Money London Marathon volunteering programme:Can I volunteer as an individual?At this stage, all of our volunteering opportunities are allocated to groups and unfortunately we cannot offer volunteering roles to individuals. However, you can register your interest in individual volunteering opportunities with us and be amongst the first to know when any new opportunities become available. To register your interest visit the VLM website. Which groups currently volunteer at the event?The event receives incredible volunteer support from a diverse range of groups from across London and the south of England, from running clubs, sports clubs, schools and universities, to community organisations, scout groups, police cadets, the London Fire Brigade, the parkrun community and volunteering partners. All groups recruit volunteers from within their own membership and a full list of groups who support the event will be added to these pages in due course.I am part of a group that would like to volunteer at the London Marathon, how do we register interest?If you are from a community group, charity, sports club or any other type of group that may be interested in volunteering at the event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact details and a member of the team will be in touch.
Q. How do I register for the Virgin Money London MarathonA. Ahead of Race Day, all Virgin Money London Marathon runners must register at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show to collect their running number, timing tag and kitbag. The Running Show takes place at the ExCeL in east London. Q. How do I find last year's results?A. You can view results from 2018 on the Virgin London Marathon website. Q. When was the ballot for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon open?A. The public ballot entry system for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon has now closed. The ballot was open from Monday 30 April until 17:00 on Friday 4 May 2018. Q. When do I find out if I have secured a place through the ballot?A. All applicants will hear the outcome of their ballot entry in mid-October 2018. Everyone from the UK who gains a place in the ballot is sent the Congratulations magazine. A random selection of approximately half of unsuccessful applicants will be sent the Commiserations magazine and the remainder will be sent an e-zine version. International applicants will be contacted via email.Q. What are my other options for gaining an entry in 2019?A. You can still gain an entry for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon by running for a charity. There is a full listing of charities with places to fill on our website here. Please contact the charities direct to find out their fundraising requirements.All athletics clubs that are affiliated to British Athletics can apply for places. The opening date for applications will be available in due course. It is the club secretary's responsibility to ensure runners are entered and registration is complete.Runners who have achieved the appropriate qualifying times can apply for a Championship entry place. The opening date for applications will be available in due course. If successful, the runner will then need to complete an online registration form.Finally, every year a small number of places are offered through competitions on our social media channels and those of some sponsors and partners so make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be in with a chance to win.Q. My friend/family member is unable to run but has a place; can I run using their entry?A. Places in the Virgin Money London Marathon are not transferable under any circumstances - see Conditions of Entry.Anyone attempting to run using another person’s entry will be disqualified and banned for life from the London Marathon and all other events organised by London Marathon Events Ltd.Number swapping is strictly prohibited for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the danger and confusion it can cause in the event of an incident on the route. The information you provided in the registration process included your next of kin and emergency contact information. First aid crews on the course provide details of those that have had to drop out of the race, those receiving medical attention, including their location, and if they have been taken to a hospital. In the event of a serious incident, we contact the named next of kin and emergency contact. If your place is being used by someone else, then the emergency services and medical professionals waste valuable time and your action might cause great distress and concern to your closest friends/family.Q. I am now unable to run – what do I do?A. If you gained your place via the public ballot and have paid your entry fee, you may defer your place for one year (not more) by following the instructions in the magazine you were sent. The full process is also outlined on our website.Q. Which start will I be on?A. You will be sent information about which start you are on with the Final Instructions materials. These will be sent to you by Early April 2019.Q. Can I change my start to be with my partner/friend/etc?A. No, unfortunately this is not possible. The number of runners on each start is carefully calculated and it is therefore not possible to move runners from one start to another. Please note there are marshals on each start to check that runners are on the correct start.If you wish to run with someone who is starting on a different start, we suggest you meet up at a pre-arranged point on the course. The three different starts merge just before the three mile point, so the first Lucozade station at five miles is an easy meeting point.THE RACEQ. How do I know what to do on Race Day?A. The Final Instructions for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon will be emailed to all runners by early April. This PDF magazine contains all the information runners need to have an enjoyable Race Day.Q. What time does the race start?A. Start times for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon will be confirmed in due course.Q. What time do I need to get to the start?A. We suggest you get to your allocated start (Blue, Green or Red) at least one hour before the race begins. This will allow time for you to put your kitbag on the baggage lorries, use the facilities, warm up and take your position in the start pens.Q. Where are the toilets and showers along the course?A. Toilets are available at all the starts, at Mile 1 then every two miles along the course up to and including 24 miles.Showers will be located at the following points: just before Mile 9, Mile 13, Mile 17, Mile 22 and at Mile 23.5.AT THE FINISHQ. How can I meet up with friends/relatives after the race?A. You should decide on the time and place to meet based on your predicted finish time.Please remember that it can take up to 40 minutes from the time the runner has crossed the Finish Line for the runner to collect their medal, finisher’s bag, kitbag and exit the secure area at the finish.A good place to meet close to the finish is in Horse Guards Parade where there are meeting areas for each letter of the alphabet, clearly signed A to Z. Please pre-arrange the letter you will meet at.Please do not leave the point where you have arranged to meet your runner if they are not there at the expected time. They may have been delayed coming through the finish area.Do not rely on mobile phones in the finish area as it is often impossible to get a signal due to the number of phones in operation in the confined area. It is recommended that you agree to use a third party’s landline number as a back-up number on the day.SPECTATORSQ. I want to watch the race – what advice can you give me?A. There is lots of advice on the Spectator Information section of our website.Q. Can I track a runner during the race?A. Yes. On Race Day, there will be a link to our tracking service on the homepage of the VLM.The best way to track a runner is by using the runner’s running number. If you do not have the running number, it is also possible to search for a runner by surname.Q. Where are the best places for someone in a wheelchair to watch the race?A. We suggest that disabled spectators watch the race on The Highway. The race passes along this road twice – firstly between mile 13 and mile 14 and then between miles 21 and 22.The Virgin Money London Marathon has a free, secure, dedicated parking area in the playground of the Bishop Challoner School (E1 0LB). Access to the School is via Commercial Road, Devonport Street, Cable Street and Hardinge Street (please note that Commercial Road remains open throughout the day). From the car park, it is a level walk of approx 300m via Glamis Road to The Highway. At Glamis Road, there is a subway under The Highway with ramps on both sides, which enables access to good viewing points on both sides of the Marathon course.We strongly recommend that you arrive at The Highway early to get a good viewing position. The Highway closes to traffic at 08:00 and the area is busy with spectators by 09:30.These FAQs aim to answer the majority of questions asked by runners, charities and spectators. If your question is not covered by these FAQs, please contact the Virgin Money London Marathon helpdesk on 020 7902 0200. The helpdesk can be very busy so please be patient and your call will be answered as soon as possible.