Friends and relatives coming to support on Sunday 26 April 2015 should pay special attention to the information below regarding the best viewing points along the Virgin Money London Marathon course.
The downloadable PDFs below feature maps of the entire route of the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon (and a detailed map of the finish area, along with info on where you should meet your loved ones after the race) to help you plan where to go on Race Day.
Map 1 The first six miles: Blackheath – Woolwich – Greenwich
Map 2 Miles seven to 22: Greenwhich – The Tower – The Isle of Dogs
Map 3 The home stretch, Miles 23 to the finish: London Bridge – The Mall
Map 4 The finish area
Map 5 The complete set (all four of the above maps)
The maps also include an elite runners’ pace guide to help you to follow the top-flight action, plus a specially formulated mass-field pace guide so you will know when to keep an eye out for your loved ones as they come gasping and sweating along the road.
Raise a glass to your runner
A list of pubs participating in special events along the course is printed on Map 3 – find out where you can watch with a pint in hand as the runners stream past. Pubs near the course are marked on the map with a pint glass. London Pride pubs are also marked on the map. London Pride is the official beer of the Virgin Money London Marathon.
With all roads closed, the only way to get around is by public transport. London Underground, London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) all 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 avoid
If 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 stations
The mass race starts at 10:10 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, London Bridge 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 09:00, followed by the IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships (ambulatory) at 09:05 and the elite women at 09:20. The elite men will start at 10:10, then 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.
If you are coming to Waterloo East station then you should head for Waterloo station on foot and follow the travel suggestions above.
If you are leaving your runner at London Bridge station then follow the suggestions above for viewing and connections from there.
Bakerloo line update
Please be aware that there will be no service on the Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone on Sunday 26 April. For travel updates and to plan your journey, go to www.tfl.gov.uk.
The London Overground has several stations on, or very close to, the marathon route – Surrey Quays, Canada Water (connect with the Jubilee line on the London Underground), Rotherhithe, Wapping and Shadwell (connect with the DLR). Trains run every 10 minutes throughout the day.
London Overground’s line from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction links south east and south west London. With fast frequent services, this line offers connections to:
- Canada Water
- Clapham High Street
- Clapham Junction
- Highbury & Islington
- Shoreditch High Street
London Overground routes will operate as follows on Race Day:
Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford route (normal service on sections of the route which are not mentioned below):
No service between Clapham Junction and Kensington (Olympia). Use local buses on all reasonable routes (all day).
An amended timetable will run between Kensington (Olympia) and Willesden Junction (all day).
Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction route (normal service on sections of the route which are not mentioned):
An enhanced timetable will run between Dalston Junction and New Cross from 07:30 until 08:45.
An enhanced timetable will run between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace until 15:00.
An enhanced timetable will run between Dalston Junction and West Croydon until 15:00.
MBNA Thames Clippers
Avoid the crowds and see the sights, MBNA Thames Clippers will be running special River Bus services from Central London to Greenwich Pier, taking just 35 minutes from Embankment (from 07:00) and also from Hilton Docklands Riverside Hotel to Greenwich Pier, taking just 10 minutes (from 06:30). There will be reduced ticket prices for runners on production of a running number. You can pre-book your tickets in advance at www.thamesclippers.com
Mile 15 & Mile 18
This year there is a slight adjustment to the route between miles 18 and 19 due to building work at Canary Wharf. The very popular viewing spot at Heron Quay roundabout (close to the site of the former City Pride pub) at miles 15 and 18 will NOT be available this year. Access will be restricted and spectators should make alternative arrangements.
While the route through for runners is protected, the ongoing works will be fenced and inaccessible and it will not be possible to see runners at this location. All spectators should follow the directions of our event marshals who will advise and direct people to alternative viewing spots.
Canary Wharf & The Isle of Dogs (DLR)
Miles 14 to 21 on the London Marathon route are well served by a number of DLR stations. The DLR connects with London Underground at Canary Wharf (Jubilee line), Bank (District & Circle lines – connect at Monument station) and Tower Gateway (walk to Tower Hill – District & Circle lines.) So, when you want to head back towards the finish you can use these interchanges.
Meeting up after the race
You will be reunited with your runner at the runner meet and greet area in Horse Guards Road and Horse Guards Parade. You will NOT be allowed into the secure area. Many of you will use the crossing points and pedestrian bridge in order to make your way to and from this area, we therefore would ask that you take the time to look over the map above and plan your route to and from the finish area carefully.
The closest stations to the finish area are indicated on the map. For those arriving from St James’s Park station, please proceed along Queen Anne Gate where the crossing point will take you directly into the park. For people arriving from Victoria station, please use the footbridge on Spur Road. All the crossing points shown will be clearly signed and marshalled but bear in mind that these will be busy and you will often need to wait before you can cross.
Charing Cross and Embankment stations will involve a longer walk (approximately 20 minutes). However, these stations will be less crowded and you will not have to use the crossing points.
Runner meet and greet area
It 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.
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.
There will be a PA system in operation throughout the day at the finish; this is only for the official race commentary and emergency announcements, NOT for friends and family seeking lost runners.
TV & radio coverage
The BBC’s coverage of the Virgin Money London Marathon will once again be interactive, with viewers on Virgin Media, Sky, Freesat and Online able to choose between the main BBC coverage and combined elite race coverage by pressing the Red Button, or going to the BBC Sport website.
Coverage of the Virgin Money London Marathon finishes on BBC One at 14:00, but highlights of the whole day will be shown on BBC Two at 17:30. Check your TV listings for details.
BBC London will feature live coverage with Tim Arthur and Harriet Scott from 08:00 until 12:00 and reports through the afternoon on BBC London 94.9, BBC London digital radio and BBC London online.