Summary: The London Marathon is typically a fast race every year, but because it starts with two miles of downhill, it’s easy to go out too fast! Be ready for crowds throughout the entire experience, but with it being a Marathon Major, it’s sure to be a memorable event.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- With a downhill 2 miles into the race, it’s very easy to go out too fast
- Some “bigger” hills late in the race, so be conservative in the first half, especially with that early downhill to burn your legs up
- Pay attention running over Tower Bridge around miles 12 and 23, as there are gaps in the road where it lifts for ships to go through – tripping hazards, especially on tired legs late in the race
- With it being such a big race, be ready for everything to seem busy, from the expo, to packet pickup, to trains to the start, to the starting line, and the lines for porta potties; this is a big one!
- Really crowded early on in the race, especially when different starting corrals merge, with lots of people cutting across the road and vying for space.
- Speed “humps” in the road, big tripping hazards, and easy to not see early on with so many people
- Many of the bottles they hand out land at your feet. Late in the race people take one or two sips and toss them, sometimes with the cap on. It’s dangerous to land on those bottles and with the crowds you don’t always see them. Not much you can do but it helps to be aware of them and not surprised or worse, trip on them.
- Even though it’s a big race, it’s still very well organized and has lots of great crowd support throughout.
- Eliud Kipchoge ran 2:03:05 here in 2016, the 2nd fastest marathon ever, and Paula Radcliffe ran a stunning 2:15:25 here back in 2003. It’s a fast course!
Type: Point to Point with one “lollipop” section in the middle.
Start/Finish Info: Starts and finishes at different locations. Be sure to know public transport options, as those will be the best, most efficient options for getting around and being on time to the start. Information on start/finish, as well as maps of each, found here.
Hills: Overall gain is ~580 feet. Course starts with ~40 foot gain in the first 2 miles, then loses ~150 feet in the next 2 miles. Course rolls with small gains of ~15-25 feet at a time, with a ~60 foot gain from 17-17.5, a 70 foot gain from 18-18.5, and 80 feet from 23-23.5.
2015 Course Map, which includes an elevation profile
Locations of water stations: 250ml bottles of Buxton Natural Mineral Water are offered at every mile from Mile 3 through to 25 Miles.
Locations of electrolyte stations: Orange flavour Lucozade Sport will be available in 380ml bottles at miles 5, 10, 15, 19 and 23.
Electrolyte offered: Lucozade Sport Carbo Gels are available at Miles 14 and 21.5.
Lots of Spectator Information here.
Yes, as it’s also part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors.