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Get ready to experience the electrifying atmosphere and unparalleled excitement of one of the world’s most iconic marathons. Whether you’re a first-time spectator or a seasoned supporter, this guide is your ultimate companion to navigating the bustling streets of London and cheering on the thousands of runners who will embark on this unforgettable journey.

From the strategic viewing points along the route to insider tips on how to make the most of your spectator experience, this guide has everything you need to become an integral part of the London Marathon spectacle. Join us as we celebrate the determination, endurance, and spirit of runners from around the globe, all converging on the vibrant streets of London for a day of unforgettable moments and incredible achievements.

So grab your cheering gear, map out your viewing spots, and get ready to witness history in the making at the 2024 London Marathon!

In this article we feature:

When is the London marathon?
What is the London marathon start time?
Where is the best place to watch the London Marathon?
What is the London marathon route?
How can I enter the 2025 London Marathon?
When can I enter the 2025 London Marathon?
London Marathon Spectator Tips
Useful resources for London Marathon Spectators

When is the London marathon?

The London Marathon in 2024 is set for Sunday, April 21. The race will once again captivate the city, offering both runners and spectators a memorable experience.

What is the London marathon start time?

To manage overcrowding effectively, the London Marathon employs a staggered start based on your estimated race time. This system groups runners with similar goals into waves, with the fastest runners starting first around 10:00 am. Subsequent waves then set off gradually until the last runners depart between 11:00 and 11:30 am. Although the course remains bustling in the initial phases of the race, this staggered approach prevents chaotic conditions that would arise if all participants began simultaneously.

London Marathon Runners

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Where is the best place to watch the London Marathon?

For friends, family, and fans wanting to watch the marathon, the route takes runners past some of London’s most iconic landmarks, providing plenty of fantastic viewing opportunities. Areas like Greenwich, Tower Bridge, and along the Thames River past the Tower of London offer great spots to see the action unfold. The final stretch towards Buckingham Palace is particularly spectacular, but expect larger crowds here. Each location along the route provides a unique perspective of the marathon, with the vibrant atmosphere making any spot a good choice​.

What is the London marathon route?

The marathon route, famous for showcasing many of London’s finest landmarks, has largely remained unchanged since the inaugural event in 1981. For a detailed view of the course, including specific landmarks and the overall path runners will take, it’s best to check the official London Marathon website or their Strava club for the most accurate and up-to-date map​.

How can I enter the 2025 London Marathon?

For those looking to enter the 2025 London Marathon, the ballot system is your primary entry route. The ballot for the 2025 marathon will open on Saturday, April 20, 2024, and close on Friday, April 26, 2024. This process provides a fair chance for all hopeful participants, drawing winners randomly. If you’re aiming for a spot in this prestigious event, mark these dates on your calendar and ensure you’re ready to apply as soon as the ballot opens (TCS London Marathon). If you’re considering running for a charitable cause, applications for charity places are already open with some organizations. These places often require a commitment to fundraising, offering a different route into the race. It’s a great way to support a good cause while securing your spot. Interested runners should apply as early as possible due to the limited number of charity spots available.

When can I enter the 2025 London Marathon?

The London Marathon in 2025 will take place on Sunday, April 27, and the ballot for entry will be open from Saturday, April 20, 2024, to Friday, April 26, 2024 (TCS London Marathon).

London Marathon Spectator Tips

The London Marathon is not only a test of endurance for the runners but also a day of excitement and pride for their friends and family. Watching a loved one cross the finish line after months of preparation is an unforgettable experience. However, with thousands of participants and spectators, knowing the best way to spot your marathoner can be challenging. This guide offers practical tips for friends and family on how to find and watch their marathoners—whether physically on the course, on TV, online, or through apps.

On the Course: Tips for Spectators

Plan Ahead
Study the marathon route and choose a viewing spot in advance. Consider less crowded areas for better chances of spotting your runner and for a more comfortable viewing experience.

Split Your Squad
If you have a group, consider splitting up to cheer from different points along the route. This can provide multiple boosts of encouragement for your runner.

Be Visible and Vocal
Wear bright colours or costumes, and bring banners or signs with your runner’s name. Not only does this make it easier for them to spot you, but it also adds to the event’s festive atmosphere.

Choose Landmarks:
Pick distinctive landmarks near your viewing spot to help your runner anticipate where you’ll be. Communicate these plans clearly before race day.

Watching on TV

Live Broadcast
The London Marathon is typically broadcast live on national television. The coverage often starts early in the morning and includes features on the runners, live shots of the race, and interviews.

Spotting Your Runner
While it might be challenging to spot your runner among thousands, the broadcasters usually cover different parts of the course. Knowing your runner’s estimated pace and their starting time can help you guess when they might appear on screen.

Online Streaming

Official Marathon Website
The London Marathon’s official website often provides live streaming on race day. This option is excellent for friends and family worldwide.

Social Media
Keep an eye on the official London Marathon social media channels for live updates, behind-the-scenes content, and potentially even live streams.

Marathon Apps

Official Marathon App
The London Marathon’s official app typically includes a feature for tracking runners. By entering your runner’s name or bib number, you can follow their progress in real-time. This feature is especially useful for timing your arrival at viewing spots or the finish line.

Third-party Tracking Apps
Several fitness and running apps offer live tracking features for participants in major marathons. These can provide an alternative if the official app is unavailable or overloaded.

Extra Tips for a Seamless Experience

Communicate in Advance
Make sure you have a communication plan for race day. Due to the large number of people, cellular networks can be overwhelmed, making it difficult to send or receive calls and messages.

Post-Race Meetup Plan
Decide on a specific location to meet after the race, as the finish area can be extremely crowded. The official marathon map usually includes designated meeting points.

Celebrate Together
Whether you’re able to watch in person or from afar, make plans to celebrate your runner’s achievement. A post-race gathering can be a lovely way to conclude the marathon day.
Watching a friend or family member run the London Marathon is a thrilling experience. With the right preparation and tools, you can ensure you’re there to support and celebrate with them every step of the way, no matter where you are in the world.

Useful resources for London Marathon Spectators

TfL (Transport for London) Essential for planning travel on race day, with real-time updates on public transport services. Keeping London moving Citymapper:  Offers the best routes and transport options to navigate London, especially useful for spectators on race day. https://citymapper.com/london

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