• Greg

How to watch the London Marathon in Person

What does the London Marathon mean to you? To me it’s many things, its nostalgia for all the times in the 80s and early 90s I that we ran around the city watching my parents friends run, it’s one of the most London things you can do but it’s also a bellwether of time for us.

As a part of writing this blog I am finding pictures from last year and the year two years before and I am reminded that another year has passed, of how much my children are growing up, how we have grown as a family (not just in numbers) and everything we have done in the time since the last event. The London Marathon is many different things to many different people but to all of us its special.

I have been lucky enough to live in four cities during the times of their Marathons and the love and support the runners get from you the people of London is like no other, so before I give you a load of reasons why you should get out and support on the 28th April 2019 let me give you my one. The majority of runners run for charity and knowing many people who have run previous years and raised a lot of money the thing that they have all said keeps them going aside from their individual reasons for running is all the well-wishers of the spectators who line the street, the reason everyone wears their names on their shirts is to get that little bit of encouragement from you and the voices of our kids lining the streets they hear the loudest, so weather its cmon Dave, cmon Sue, Cmon the man in the Rhino suit or just clapping and whooping, we should all do our bit for those willing to do their bit.

We always start by getting the train into London Bridge and heading east out towards Bermondsey station where we cheer everyone we can along Jamaica Road, this is always a great place to head for the morning to get breakfast along the route from the millions of pop up bacon sandwich and beer sellers, if that’s not your bag then head to the Maltby Street Market which we discovered just off the route 3 years back, they have a St John bread shop which is perfect for grabbing some bread for your sandwiches and a croissant for breakfast. There is loads of independent coffee shops on the market so no need to go to a chain store #supportlocal

At this point you may have lost your way so jump on The Official 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon Race app to take a look at the interactive course map to figure out where to next, I would advise downloading this a few days before as it lists a load of place of interest that you may want to swing by on the way around the course.

The Official 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon Race app, powered by TCS, is available to download for iPhone and android now.

After filling our bellies we head to Bermondsey tube station to catch the jubilee line to Canary wharf - the tubes are rammed so only take a buggy if you need to, we always do but take a compact one that folds up to get through the crowds.

Getting out to canary wharf we make way to Mudchute heading against the flow of runners walking from mile 18 to 16, it’s a great walk where there are loads of big bands playing and the carnival atmosphere really takes place. Mudchute is the real nostalgic part for us where we always used to hop around the DLR to reach certain mile markers for certain times to try and catch my parents friends when i was a kid. We weren't always successful but when we were you could see the lift that our friendly faces and voices gave to them at a point which was still 10 miles from the finish.

If you have friends or family running then this year you can follow the progress of an unlimited number of friends and family who are out on the course. The app will give you updates every five kilometres, track your chosen runners’ pace and predict what time your runners will reach the next five kilometre checkpoint based on their average pace, allowing you to get to the best viewing points in time to support them. You can also follow all your favourite celebrities who are taking on the course this year.

We are always moved by people who are running for charities and the people who run in the rhino outfits always strike me, ever since seeing them as a kid they have held a place in my heart and to this day Ezra has a Rhino toy under his arm at all times and both the kids will be wearing their save the rhino t-shirts to support at the race. So if there is something close to your heart, make a banner or wear the t-shirt, every little helps. Ultimately we will see people making super human efforts out on the course, we have seen “runners” on stilts or “running” in a coat of armour and I have always wanted to donate to them and had no way to do so.

But this year we are going to let the kids make x5 £5 In-race Donations though the app. The Official 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon Race app makes it easier than ever for runners to hit their donation goals, with a new in-race donation button available. Simply search for your runner in the tracking page, click on their runner icon, and hit the donation button to be taken directly to their Virgin Money Giving page.

At this point we always try to make our way out to the Victoria Embankment to encourage the runners for the last few miles, we are always super tired but nothing compared to the good people running in the beautiful British April heat, we try and keep our eye on the prize by checking out the app for the “Ones to Watch” to see who has won the elite races but also to watch any of the celebrity runners who have not passed through.

If you have anything left in the tank then check out the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show - the app will help you plan your visit with opening times, exhibitors and an interactive floorplan, as well as venue location.

AND be sure to give the app a look for all sorts of spectator information from the location of toilets, First Aid points, water stations and most importantly to help you find the best pubs along the way.

The Official 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon Race app, powered by TCS, is available to download for iPhone and android now.

AND don’t forget if you are there then share with #ThisRun and #ThanksaBillion - support friends and share your marathon experience using Virgin Money London Marathon themed selfie filters.

Lastly a few tips lifted from the official website

1) Before setting off, you need to prepare – spectating isn’t quite as tough as marathon training but it still needs some thought:

2) 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.

3) Comfortable clothes (especially shoes) are a must. You should be prepared for a typical April day in London – sun, showers and wind.

4) 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.

5) Expect to do lots of walking, including stairs and escalators – you should think carefully before bringing young children; pushchairs can also be troublesome.

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