London Marathon Events today announced plans to provide a great experience for the back of the pack runners at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 26 April.

Here’s what’s new for 2020:

  • The Start: the mass race will start earlier, at 09:30. Participants will again be started in a series of waves.  For the first time, participants who think they will take more than 7:45 hours to complete the marathon have been offered the opportunity to start at the back of either the second or third wave to give them more time (8 hours 35 minutes or 8 hours 20 minutes respectively) to complete the event.
  • Tailwalkers: a group of approximately 50 Tailwalkers will walk the entire route at 8:00 hour pace as a mobile cheer squad for the back of the pack. The Tailwalkers will start at the back of the final wave at 10:30 and the 8:00 pace time will begin once these Tailwalkers cross the Start Line. To add to the atmosphere, there will also be a bus with a DJ playing music, which will join the route at the merge point (just after Mile 3) and drive behind the Tailwalkers.
  • Virgin Money Angels: a team of 80 Virgin Money Angels will support anyone who is struggling and needs help. The Virgin Money Angels will work in pairs, covering Mile 16 to 26, positioned about 400m apart and will remain in place until the Tailwalkers have passed.
  • Participant support: Drinks Stations, timing mats and the event photographers will stay in place until the back of the pack has passed. The convoy of clear up vehicles will follow the DJ bus and organisers will ensure this convoy does not impinge upon the back of the pack.
  • Road reopening times: Transport for London and the local authorities have given permission  for later road reopening times from Mile 23 onwards (Tower of London) which means 8:00 hour pace participants are able to stay on the road throughout. The Tailwalkers will assist anyone who falls behind the 8:00 hour pace and guide them on to the pavement, staying with them through to the Finish. This is likely to be a very small number of participants but the ambition is to assist everyone to reach the Finish Line on The Mall.
  • Staff support: a senior London Marathon Events staff member will be at the back of the pack throughout the event to ensure there is no repeat of contractors overlapping with the back of the pack participants and Tailwalkers.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “We have worked very hard over the past months to put in place these plans that ensure that runners at the back of the pack have the best possible experience on the day. We’d like to thank the back of the pack runners from 2019 who shared their experiences with us and the working group that helped us come up with these ideas.”