Best spots to watch the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon
- Credit: Bob Martin for Virgin Money London Marathon
Are you cheering on friends or relations taking part in today’s 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon?
If so, you’ll be looking for the best places to watch the race. Here is our guide to where to choose for the best view.
Large numbers of people will be heading for the most iconic parts of the route, such as the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge, so it’s best to avoid these spots.
It is also highly advisable to steer clear of Greenwich town centre, and anywhere from Mile 24 to the finish line in the Mall. Those areas will be heaving and public transport will be overcrowded, making it hard to get around. So if you really don’t want to miss the race start at 10am, best advice is to get there early and stake your spot.
So which are the best places to choose to beat the crowds?
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Areas near the start line in Blackheath and Greenwich Park tend to be packed, but you can get a better view if you head a bit further down to the areas around John Wilson Street and Evelyn Street.
By Mile 9, where the route gets into Docklands, there will not be quite so many people lining the route. The area around Canary Wharf is easily accessible by the DLR and the pubs and bars will be open for refreshment along the way. At nearby Westferry Road, you can also see the runners twice as they loop back on themselves.
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If you are a wheelchair user, organisers advise the best place to see the race from is The Highway. The playground of the Bishop Challoner School provides secure parking free of charge. There is a level walk of around 300m with ramps via Glamis Road and a subway under The Highway, to get to good viewing points on both sides of the Marathon course.
The race doubles back on itself here, so you will be able to see the runners twice, first between Mile 13 and Mile 14 and again between Miles 21 and 22. It is strongly recommended to get there early, as the road closes at 8am and will be busy with spectators by 9.30pm.
Public transport such as the Underground, Overground and DLR are the best ways to travel, since roads near the course will be closed.
However, they will all be very busy, so you will have to queue and some stations may be forced to close temporarily to control the crowds. Real-time travel information will be available
Wearing comfortable clothes and shoes is a must, as you will be doing a lot of standing and walking around, including stairs and escalators and weather in April can be very changeable. It’s also advisable to travel light, without heavy bags. Taking young children can be difficult and you might find it hard to manage pushchairs.
Tracking and meeting your runner
To keep track of where your runner is during the race, use the Marathon’s live tracking page, This will be available here on race day.
You will be able to enter their surname or running number to see where they are on the course. The tracking works by checking when they passed various timing points and monitoring their running pace.
If you want to meet up with your runner after the race, it might not be easy to contact them by mobile as many people will be trying to make calls near the meet and greet area. Planning a meeting point in advance is a better idea.
A good place to meet is Horse Guards Parade, where there will be designated meeting points for each letter of the alphabet so runners can be found by surname. Remember it can take runners up to 40 minutes after finishing the race to collect their medal and exit the secure area before reaching the meeting point.
Guide to timings
There is a complete real-time pace guide to roughly where groups of runners will be at different stages of the race here.
But for a quick, approximate guide, if you are watching someone considered to be a medium-paced runner, we’ve pulled out some key markers below. This assumes the runner takes around 4 hours 30 minutes to complete the course.
Five miles – 10.51am; 10 miles – 11.42am; 15 miles – 12.34pm; 20 miles – 1.25pm; 25 miles – 2.17pm; 26.2 miles (finish) – 2.30pm.