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Six Steps to the Start Line

We’re really looking forward to seeing you at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October and welcoming you to the Start Line as we run together again. To ensure the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon can go ahead, and will take place safely for you and your fellow participants, we have made some changes to this year’s event.

Some of the changes are minor and you will not notice them. Others are more fundamental and we are asking for your support and understanding to ensure the event goes ahead safely.

While some things may be different to previous years, we’re confident you’ll have a day you’ll never forget as you take on the 26.2-mile challenge.

We’ve covered these changes in the six steps below. We’re asking you to follow these steps in the run-up to the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon to help us ensure you have a great experience on Sunday 3 October. We will keep updating this guidance over the coming weeks and also keep you updated by email.

We understand that you may have questions, but please wait before you get in touch with us as more information will follow in the coming days and weeks.

Step One: Update your details and tell us your predicted time

We’ll email you by Friday 27 August to ask for your predicted finish time and to check your contact details are correct. Please be as realistic as you can with your finish time, as this will ensure your running experience is the best possible. Your correct contact details are vital so that we can send you your official kitbag in advance. Please note the deadline to update your details is Sunday 5 September.

Step Two: Pack your kitbag in advance

To reduce touchpoints, this year there will be no baggage lorries travelling from the Start to the Finish. Instead, we’ll post your official kitbag to you, with a self-adhesive label with your bib number printed on it – this should arrive by Friday 24 September.

We’re asking you to pack any items you’d like at the Finish in the kitbag (this could include things like warm clothing to put on after you finish, non-perishable food items, etc) before dropping it off at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show. Please don’t overfill your kitbag as we’ll need to add your souvenir medal, New Balance finisher’s T-shirt, BUXTON Natural Mineral Water and Lucozade Sport to it once you’ve dropped it off.

Very important: even if you don’t want to bring any items for the Finish, you must still hand in your kitbag at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show so we can add your medal, T-shirt and drinks to it for you to collect at the Finish.

This new kitbag system will allow us to hugely reduce crowding and touchpoints at the most critical areas of the event – the Start and the Finish – and most importantly will enable the event to go ahead whatever might happen over the coming weeks.

Please note that the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show will take place at ExCeL London from Wednesday 29 September until Saturday 2 October.

Step Three: Before you go to the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show

Take a lateral flow test on the Wednesday or Thursday if you are dropping off your kitbag and picking up your bib number on one of those days.

Take a lateral flow test on the Friday or Saturday if you are dropping off your kitbag and picking up your bib number on either of those days.

You will need to show your negative Covid-19 result to enter the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show and drop off your kitbag and pick up your bib number.

Step Four: At the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show

Drop off your kitbag (with the self-adhesive sticker attached) and collect your bib number at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show.

Very important: even if you don’t want to bring any items for the Finish, you must still hand in your kitbag at the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show so we can add your souvenir medal, New Balance finisher’s T-shirt, BUXTON Natural Mineral Water and Lucozade Sport to it for you to collect at the Finish.

At the time of writing, if you would like to attend the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show with someone else you can – however, they will need to be aged 18 or over on the day that you attend and, like you, they must show evidence of a negative lateral flow test on arrival.

As in previous years, if you cannot attend in person you may nominate someone to drop off your kitbag and collect your bib number for you.

The person you nominate must have the following:

  • your kitbag with the self-adhesive sticker attached
  • a letter, written and signed by you, authorising that person – by name – to collect your bib number and drop off your kitbag
  • a clear photocopy of your passport or driving licence showing your name and your signature
  • evidence of their negative lateral flow test
  • their own suitable photo identification with them

Failure to comply with these instructions may lead to your bib number not being issued.

Please note: an individual can only drop off one other kitbag and collect one other person’s bib number in addition to their own. There will be spare kitbags and blank self-adhesive stickers available.

Please note that the Virgin Money London Marathon Running Show will take place at ExCeL London from Wednesday 29 September until Saturday 2 October.

Step Five: Plan your journey to the Start

We’ll be emailing detailed Start arrival information to you a couple of weeks before Marathon Day and asking you to arrive within a set time window. Please try to stick to your recommended arrival time by planning your journey to the Start in advance.

This year’s start process will be different, with everyone set off in separate waves over one hour and 30 minutes.

Remember, there are no baggage lorries this year, so please wear clothes that you’re happy to discard and donate to charity.

Step Six: Prepare for Marathon Day

If you take your lateral flow test to gain entry to the Virgin London Marathon Running Show on the Wednesday or Thursday of Event Week, please take another lateral flow test on either Friday 1 or Saturday 2 October and be prepared to show the negative result at the Start – we will be doing random checks.

Please wear a bottle belt to help us further reduce touchpoints on the day. Our testing in 2019 showed that runners wearing bottle belts used 45 per cent fewer water bottles and enjoyed being able to drink when they wanted. Not only will you be reducing the number of bottles used on the course, you will also be enhancing your experience of the event.

There will still be Drinks Stations offering BUXTON Natural Mineral Water and Lucozade Sport throughout the course.

Please note there will be no official pacers at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon to reduce crowding on course, so you’ll need to follow your own pacing strategy and plan this ahead of the event. You can create your own pace wristband using Lucozade Sport’s online tool here.

This year, we’re asking you to invite only one supporter to come along and watch in person. Spectators are asked to avoid gathering in large numbers, and if an area is busy, find another place to watch the event. Our stewards will ask spectators to move on if areas become crowded. Thank you for your understanding.

Don’t forget to let all of your family and friends know that the big day is fast approaching. Your supporters will be able to watch the coverage on the BBC this year and track your progress from the comfort of their own homes using the Official App powered by TCS. It’s also a good idea to remind your supporters to donate to your Virgin Money Giving fundraising page if they haven’t already.

Please remember that your kitbag will be waiting for you at the Finish and we’ll have added your finisher’s medal, the New Balance finisher T-shirt in the size you requested, Lucozade Sport and BUXTON Natural Mineral Water.

We understand that you may have questions, but please wait before you get in touch with us as more information will follow in the coming days and weeks.

More event information

    • How to follow

      All your options for watching the inspiring spectacle that is the Virgin Money London Marathon

    • Sustainability

      London Marathon Events is committed to being a world leader in delivering sustainable mass participation events

    • Training Plans

      Our 16-week Training Plans will guide you right through to the Start Line

    • How to follow

      All your options for watching the inspiring spectacle that is the Virgin Money London Marathon

    • Sustainability

      London Marathon Events is committed to being a world leader in delivering sustainable mass participation events

    • Training Plans

      Our 16-week Training Plans will guide you right through to the Start Line

    • How to follow

      All your options for watching the inspiring spectacle that is the Virgin Money London Marathon

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