Overall Rating
Overall Rating (5 Reviews)
4.2
(5 Ratings)(5 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4
Since its inaugural running in 1981, the London Marathon has developed a global reputation for its fast, record-setting course. Each year the London Marathon hosts representatives from more than 50 countries to compete on this world stage. Elite runners compete for a portion of £150,000, while the fairly flat, city … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Donn Raymond
    Donn Raymond FIRST-TIMER '16

    Guaranteed entry through marathon tours(MT) was the best part of this marathon. The expo was large, very large, and very crowded. It would set the stage for the race itself. … MORE

    Guaranteed entry through marathon tours(MT) was the best part of this marathon. The expo was large, very large, and very crowded. It would set the stage for the race itself. Due to the long lines in the expo, I chose to walk through as quickly as possible. I stayed at the Intercontinental, a 5 star hotel which was one of the choices through MT. The hotel was great, but because I stay at a lot of the IHG brands, I was given an upgrade room, which included a large outside deck. The bad side to this large deck, a very small room. No where to sit suitcases, no drawers to unpack. No where to plug in the coffee pot.
    Race day morning was a breeze. getting to the start line was not a problem. Unfortunately, the finish line was more than a mile away, and after running 26.2+ miles, I had to walk a bit over a mile back to the hotel.
    The race itself was in one word, CROWDED! The first 3 miles were so crowded, I had to expend tons of energy avoiding being punched and prodded. I tried to stay on the periphery of the crowds, but this was not always possible. I actually got punched in the eye (courtesy of a taller, elbow flailing runner), and ended up with more than a couple bruises at the end of the race. In addition to the large crowds of runners, 5-6 times throughout the run, the course was altered so that the road was narrowed for no apparent reason, forcing the runners to bunch up and slow way down.
    The spectators were AMAZING. I thought New York had large crowds of spectators, London was non-stop crowds cheering the runners on. This was great for encouraging the runners, but if you are looking for a quiet peaceful run, this is not the marathon for you.
    Although this review is mostly negative, London is a great city. I just felt overwhelmed with the crowds of the race, and the spectators alike. It is definitely worth the trip to run one of the most iconic marathons in the world. I would just suggest that you run it once, and never consider a second time.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of jrohlede
    jrohlede FIRST-TIMER '16

    Ran London as number 5 of 6 wmm's. Had run Tokyo 6 weeks earlier on a torn meniscus, came back had surgery then 4 weeks later ran London. So knew … MORE

    Ran London as number 5 of 6 wmm’s. Had run Tokyo 6 weeks earlier on a torn meniscus, came back had surgery then 4 weeks later ran London. So knew it was going to be a long slow run. It was a PW (personal worst) for me except for the year of the Chicago marathon heat a thon. So here we go
    1) Arrived in London 3 days before the marathon after a week sightseeing in Ireland. According to the Garmin we were doing anywhere from 8 to 15 miles a day walking and sightseeing. The three days before the marathon in London were no different. Girlfriend and travel partners had no mercy on future marathoners or recovering knees. So knew tired legs were going to unavoidable. Weather was cooperative – mostly cloudy everyday with temps in the 40’s and low 50’s.
    2) The expo was easy in and easy out. Not being big expo hanger ons we picked up our bibs, bought some official Virgin London Marathon stuff and hit the exits, all within an hour. No lines for t-shirt pick up. You have to finish the race to get your shirt.
    3) Race start / course – Just like NY and Boston they bus you out to a field in the middle of no where and you run back into town. Corrals were easy to find and bathrooms were a plenty. No comes the starts of the buts…..
    4) The race – great race but….course was so crowded the we actually physically stopped 3 times in the first 2 miles. No where to go. Have run 51 marathons and this was the most crowded course I have ever been on and that includes Tokyo which was the previous most crowded course I had ever been on. It never thinned out. No place to pass people. Water stops were hard to get to thru all the people. Speaking of the water stops – but #2. Plenty of stops but….they gave you full plastic bottles of water or gator-aid. Most people took two or three sips of the drink and threw the bottle away. Everybody who I talked to who ran the race all said the same think – what a huge waste of money. And some idiots didn’t even bother to throw there bottles to the side, just dropped them on the course. There were many injuries from people tripping and falling over water bottles. Please fix this.
    Miles 1 – 12 were pretty non descript. Miles 12 to 26 were great. Running by the Tower of London twice was keeno. The rest of the course was scenic and nice. Flat and fast. Well fast for those who are fast….
    4) Crowd Support – BEST EVER. I thought NY and Chicago had great crowd support but the London people lined the course 5 to 10 deep at every spot. Where NY and Chicago have spots with great crowd support the whole city of London must come out to support this race. IT WAS AMAZING.
    5) finish and medal – Good finish and nice understated medal.

    So happy to have major #5 in the books with injury and slow times. Best parts of London marathon are scenery and crowd support. Worse parts are crowds of runners and dangerous plastic water bottles.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Lorelei
    Lorelei FIRST-TIMER '16

    The crowd support is the best on the planet. For 26.2 miles, the crowds will be yelling your name and words of encouragement. The production is phenomenal. They even put … MORE

    The crowd support is the best on the planet. For 26.2 miles, the crowds will be yelling your name and words of encouragement. The production is phenomenal. They even put your name in lights in Piccadilly Circus – one name at a time so it isn’t buried in a sea of names.

    Famous people show up to run this and you can find them cruising through the crowds at the start. The swag is unbeatable. They hand you a finisher shirt, a medal, and a bag of food and drink so heavy you might fall over trying to carrying it, as I almost did.

    The course passes by all the London must-sees like Big Ben. And the finish is at Buckingham Palace. Glorious!

    Oh! The costumes! Many runners wear costumes!!!! Some are so outrageous, you wonder how they run in them. I was a butterfly.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Profile photo of UKCathryn
    UKCathryn FIRST-TIMER '04

    I ran this back in 2004 as my first (and my last) marathon. It was incredible. The Expo in Docklands was easy to get to and well organized. There were … MORE

    I ran this back in 2004 as my first (and my last) marathon. It was incredible. The Expo in Docklands was easy to get to and well organized. There were plenty of trains to get to the startline and plenty of portaloos once you got there. The atmosphere was amazing.
    The course is spectacular. It’s pretty much entirely flat and runs past the most amazing London sights – Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Parliament and Buckingham Palace to finish on the Mall. There ARE some duller stretches (Deptford comes to mind and Docklands if you don’t have friends strategically placed to look out for) but this is a wonderful course to run. In ’04 there were no finisher shirts but there was a big medal and snacks/drinks at the end. I am so very glad I ran this.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Fitbrit
    Fitbrit FIRST-TIMER '15

    Don't expect a totally flat course as advertised but do expect one of the most fun races you will ever do. Small undulating hills line this well spectated course. As … MORE

    Don’t expect a totally flat course as advertised but do expect one of the most fun races you will ever do. Small undulating hills line this well spectated course.

    As with 5 of the 6 Majors this race has a lottery system to get in unless you go with Marathon Tours.
    This is how I got in and they have always given me the highest standard of travel and organization. It wasn’t cheap however so expect to pay quite a bit.

    THE EXPO:
    The large expo at the ExCel concourse is a bit far away from central London , about 40 minutes. take the Jubilee line to Canning Town then transfer to the DLR to ExCels Custom house station in Eastern London. Try to get there before Saturday where the masses attend. The expo is open from weds to sat from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
    If you want to buy the official clothes the women’s medium sizes were gone by Friday at lunch time. Only XL and XS were left.
    You will get your finishers T. shirt when you cross the finish line along with a large and very nice medal and more goodies in a bag.
    The expo will have all you need in case you forgot some kit. Take advantage of the massage booth although a bit pricey a pound a minute but worth it.

    THE RACE:
    The weather was cold 39-40 degrees at the start with some rain while we waited in a grass field in the London suburb of Greenwich.
    There are 3 starts , all overseas runners were in the blue line. We had 9 corrals.

    One benefit was free underground trains to the start and for runners all day , as long as you show your bib number . The bus ride from Park Lane ( our hotel ) took about 35 min to get to the start area.

    Let me just say I was apprehensive at the start as I have 2 injuries and almost pulled out 2 days before. My plan was to try to run at least half and walk the rest.
    After 15 years I decided it was time to check this one out. I’m so glad I changed my mind.

    As it turns out the current women’s world record holder, Paula Radcliffe was running her last race before retiring. Along with the current world record holder Dennis Kimetto and a large elite group made this race all the more exciting.

    The course is marked with mile and KM markers throughout. If you like running with pacers, I saw many .
    I loved the later start at 10:10 AM , so casual to get to and plenty of time to stretch, eat and go to the bathroom. Ladies beware of the standing urinals where you are required to pee standing into a cup.
    The thousands of spectators were fantastic , loud and enthusiastic. The largest crowd anywhere on any previous race except for the last mile at the Boston marathon. This course was filled 5 people deep along the whole course once you got a few miles into the race.

    HYDRATION:
    Water stops ( bottles) were listed as 3 miles apart but there were plenty after the 3 mile marker. There weren’t as many sports drinks though . My one and only complaint was trying to not trip on the bottles left on the road. There were several GU stops also.

    THE COURSE:
    You will run through Greenwich, pass the old ship Cutty Sark, through Jamaica Rd reaching the beautiful Tower Bridge at the halfway point. Then crossing the Thames onto the Isle of Dogs, through Canary wharf ( the loudest and largest crowds ) onto the houses of Parliament the tower of London, , St James Park, the Mall then Buckingham Palace and the Admiralty Arch at the end.
    Each neighborhood had live music, bagpipes, brass bands, disco, reggae and singers at one of the 60 pubs along the course.

    The halfway point was the Tower Bridge , the screaming crowd kept me going and I was forgetting all the pain I was in previously. I talked myself into running a few miles more. Eventually I ran into my niece at mile 20. It turns out that was my fastest mile . Together we ran the last 6 together which meant more to me than my niece I think.
    Upon turning the last bend around Buckingham Palace , I heard my sister screaming my name. I turned back and ran toward her . I was in part delirious , exhausted and in agony but never happier to see the finish line. The finish area was very crowded. I did get some treatment with the St Johns ambulance as my leg was bleeding but nothing serious.

    MEET & GREET:
    There is a large grass meet and greet area but bring something warm to wear after the race. London is chilly and windy.
    Overall this was my favorite road race and will run this one again. My finish time did not match the official time, perhaps they cannot process all the people crossing the finish line so that is why we got a 90 second delay of our time. If you are hoping to qualify for Boston you may want to take that into consideration .

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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